A Reminder from the ACM Awards

 In Blog

April 11, 2011

My experience at the ACM Awards reconfirmed how teamwork, relatability, and interaction continue to breed success in country music.

I’ve had the good fortune of being a writer and voice for the Canadian Country Music Awards for almost 18 years so I understand the tension, ego, heartbreak and euphoria that accompanies putting together this kind of production.  The first thing I noticed was how much buzz was created by the ACM’s during the week, a feat in itself in a place like Vegas. 

An event, no matter how big or small, is only made possible by an incredible amount of teamwork.  


After over 25 years in country music, I’m amazed how moved and inspired I continue to be by the artists and the music they create!  I loved Carrie Underwood’s performance with Steven Tyler… I saw tweets during the show wondering “when does the tour start!”  Taylor Swift’s performance of “Mean” was a powerful statement that earned her a standing ovation accompanied by a deafening roar of approval from the audience, the volume of which didn’t really translate on TV. The song “Mean” has quickly become an anthem for the anti-bullying movement.   My 8 year old daughter has experienced kids acting mean in her class and she instantly connected with the song. She learned the words and sang them for most of our 5 hour drive home… I can only hope the next time a school mate says something mean to her she’ll sing the lyrics of Taylor’s song for strength… relatability!

As an ACM winner this year for Major Market Radio Personality of the year (Cliff and Brooks on KSON) I had the unique opportunity to be presented with, hold and hand back (it still has to be engraved) the “Hat” award.  I was asked what winning means.  The first emotion I felt was a sense of validation of the work of a great group of people… teamwork!

How amazing would it be if, like the shows in Vegas, all we had to do was come up with one GREAT show and just keep doing that same show over and over again?  In radio we have to produce a great show every day.  In fact, we have to produce great shows within our show because every break in the PPM world needs to stand alone… for morning radio teams that means attempting to create 16 GREAT breaks over the course of 4 hours (based on 4 breaks per hour), all unique, character defining, innovative, impactful nuggets that will hopefully continue to earn the loyalty of our existing audience AND help inspire new people to tune in. No simple task, but it’s certainly easier with leadership and inspired teamwork.

The ACM Award show is a terrific model and reminder for us in radio.  You need teamwork to succeed. The ACMs are proof that engaging and interacting with an audience and producing relatable content will create a winning experience for the audience and payoff for you in the ratings (The ACMs won the time slot).

Using the ACM formula is not new to great radio shows…but it sure is worth revisiting as a reminder of the key elements that can produce magic.  Create a fun event, give the fans the music they want to hear, connect with your audience through character development and innovative content (relatablility), allow your audience to have an active “real time” role in the show (like the ACM’s voting for Entertainer of the year etc).  The ACMs gave us a perfect example of how to use teamwork to construct a winning radio experience for our listeners that’s relatable and interactive.

Guest Blog by Cliff Dumas, a CMA and ACM award winning morning host with over 25 years in television and radio in the U.S and Canada.


Visit www.cliffdumas.com to learn more about Cliff.


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