Kelsea Ballerini Appears at CRS Honors To Announce Six Exceptional
Radio Professionals To Be Inducted on July 10
(Nashville, TN – March 13, 2023) Black River Entertainment artist Kelsea Ballerini joined Country Radio Hall of Fame co-chairs Joel Raab and Tim Roberts during CRS Honors at CRS 2023 to reveal the 2023 Country Radio Hall of Fame honorees. The prestigious list includes six exceptional radio professionals in two categories: On-Air personality and Radio (Off-Air broadcasters). Pam Green, Charlie Morgan, Wade Jessen, and John Willyard are among the distinguished radio category honorees, while Trish Biondo and Dollar Bill Lawson are recognized for their outstanding on-air contributions.
Joel Raab, the CRB’s Country Radio Hall of Fame Committee Chairman, said, “We are thrilled to honor this year’s inductees, whose contributions to the Country radio industry have been significant and impactful. Their contributions have helped shape the industry, and we look forward to recognizing their achievements at the induction ceremony later this year.”
The Country Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to the recognition of those individuals who have made significant contributions to the country radio/music industry over a 20-year period, 15 of which must be in the Country format.
The Country Radio Hall of Fame Induction and Dinner will be held Monday, July 10, at the Virgin Hotel Nashville. More information on the event, including date, time, and ticket information, will be released closer to the event.
For more information and a list of past inductees, visit https://www.countryradioseminar.com.
Pam Green: Pam Green began her career at the iconic WHN/New York in 1974, where she quickly ascended to the position of Music Director, which she held for an impressive 13 years. After a year of working with Joel Raab’s consultancy, she continued to make waves in the industry, serving as Sr. Director/Artist Relations for United Stations Radio Networks, which later became Westwood One. Her contributions to the industry were recognized when she was named one of Country Radio’s Greatest Music Directors by Radio & Records Magazine. Green’s success as one of Country radio’s first female Music Directors paved the way for other women seeking influential programming positions.
Wade Jessen: Wade Jessen’s impressive career in the industry began as an air personality at KSOP/Salt Lake City, where he worked in two different stints, before moving to WSM-AM/Nashville in 1987. He served as Music Director and earned recognition as Billboard’s Music Director of the Year in 1994. Jessen eventually wrote for Billboard and became Chart Manager for the Country, Christian, and Bluegrass formats. He played an instrumental role in adapting Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart to reflect streaming, sales, and airplay combined to more accurately reflect unbiased consumption. Jessen also helped create the Billboard Bluegrass Music Chart. Despite his chart oversight duties, Jessen kept his on-air skills honed by hosting radio shows covering several formats from 2006 until his passing in 2015. He established himself as one of the most informed historians on Country and Bluegrass music, earning a reputation as an expert in the genre. Wade Jessen enters the Country Radio Hall of Fame posthumously, having passed away in 2015.
Charlie Morgan: Charlie Morgan’s unparalleled influence in the Country radio industry has touched every level of the medium. His career began as an on-air personality for legendary WFMS/Indianapolis. He eventually rose to handle both mornings and programming/operations, overseeing WFMS and Country sister station WGRL. In 2000, Morgan became VP/Market Manager for the Susquehanna cluster, eventually becoming a Cumulus property. He continued to make waves in the industry, assuming SVP/Market Manager duties for the Emmis/Indianapolis cluster, which included Country WLHK (Hank FM) in 2009. In 2015, Morgan added Market Manager responsibilities for the Emmis New York station group to his impressive list of accomplishments. Morgan’s industry-wide leadership includes a long tenure as a CRB Board member, where he is a past Board President, and CMA, where he currently serves as CMA Board Chairman. In 2019, Morgan was tapped as Apple Music’s Global Head of Radio and Music Programming. His impressive career has rightfully earned him a place in the Country Radio Hall of Fame as a rare inductee whose influence on the genre spans every level of radio.
John Willyard: John Willyard’s induction into the Country Radio Hall of Fame is a significant milestone. It marks the first time an individual has been recognized for contributions in voice acting and imaging. Willyard’s broadcasting career began in 1970, and in 1991, he caught the attention of Country radio consultant and 2012 Country Radio Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Walker. Walker began recommending Willyard to clients seeking an imaging voice. His station list quickly grew to over 100 Country outlets in all market sizes, a workload he has maintained for over 30 years. Willyard’s distinctive voice has become ubiquitous at Country radio. His unique interpretation of imaging copy has been as much a part of the fabric and personality of Country radio’s sound as the music and artists themselves. In addition to his work in radio imaging, Willyard’s voice talents have expanded to include syndication, special artist release projects, and serving as the voice of the CMA Awards for 20 years. His contributions to the industry have made him an important figure in Country radio.
ON AIR INDUCTEES:
Trish Biondo: Trish Biondo’s radio and Country radio career started simultaneously at WUSN/Chicago while she was still in college. She began working in the research and promotions department and later worked as a board operator. Biondo also worked at several other Chicago radio stations and gained her first Nashville experience serving an internship at MTM Records. After college, Biondo returned to WUSN in various roles, including Promotions, Research, and Music Director. As Music Director, she received a Billboard MD of the Year honor in 1988. In 1990, Biondo joined the WUSN Morning show and became a mainstay for 14 years, surviving several iterations of the show and helping the station receive numerous industry awards from the ACM, CMA, and CRS/Aircheck. Biondo later transitioned to middays on WUSN in 2006, earning multiple ACM Personality of the Year nominations. Throughout her career, Biondo has demonstrated a passion for the Country radio industry and has made significant contributions to the success of WUSN.
Dollar Bill Lawson: Dollar Bill Lawson’s radio career began in 1973, but his move to WZZK in his hometown of Birmingham in 1984 kicked off his long and prosperous tenure in the market. Initially serving as midday personality and Dir./Promotions, Lawson spent 18 years at WZZK, 10 of which as a morning show host that consistently topped the rankings. When he switched to WDXB, his loyal fanbase followed, and he continued to achieve high ratings. In addition to his success on the airwaves, Lawson is deeply involved in his local community and was honored with the CRB Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award in 2019 for his charitable efforts.
About Country Radio Seminar (CRS): CRS is an annual convention designed to educate and promote the exchange of ideas and business practices in the Country music industry, with specific emphasis on issues relevant to Country radio. CRS 2023 dates are set for March 13-15, 2023.
About Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc ®: The Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc ® is a 501 © 3 non-profit organization founded in 1969 to bring radio broadcasters worldwide together with the Country Music Industry to ensure vitality and promote growth in the Country Radio format.