Country Music Channel

(Program director)

(With Joe Nichols)

1-Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
I was raised in Colorado, USA and worked in pop and country radio there in the 80s and 90s.  I moved to Australia in 1993 after marrying my Aussie wife.  After a few years working in Classic Rock radio, and in music TV at Channel [V] and Max, I put CMC on the air in May 2002.
2-     This question may be strange, but in France we well know US country music, or canadian country music, can you tell us if country music is popular in Australia?
Country music is popular, but mostly in non-metro areas.  Australia is a very urban country with about 75% of the population living in capital cities.  
3-     Who are the big stars in Australia? And who's your favorites artists?
The biggest acts locally are Lee Kernaghan, Adam Brand, Kasey Chambers, Adam Harvey, Troy Cassar-Daley, Steve Forde and The McClymonts.  Keith Urban as well, but we consider him an USA act, even though he’s Aussie.  My favourites are The Davidson Brothers, Kristy Cox, and Catherine Britt
4-     Who is your favorite newcomer (australian or not)?
The Band Perry
5-     It's a dream for us to have a TV channell. CMC is well know in Australia?
CMC is very popular in regional areas.  It is available as a pay TV service and appears in about 35% of Aussie homes via Foxtel and Austar (the two main pay tv companies, who also own CMC 50/50)
6-     What is the aim of CMC? promote australian artists or US?
Our mandate is to play the best country music available, both Aussie and USA/Canada.  We play about 40% Aussie material.  We feel a responsibility to support up and coming new artists. 
7-     Jackson Mackay (a french singer who won an award as best singer to the official French Country Music Awards) came to play to Tamworth festival. Do you know french country bands?
I haven’t heard of Jackson.  If he has a music video, send it on through.
8-     What is the relation between australian country music and australian traditionnal music?Is it the same thing? 
“Heritage” and “Bush Ballads” are a traditional part of Aussie country music.  We don’t air a lot, mostly because traditional artists don’t make as many videos.
9-     More and more US artists come to tour in Australia, as Brooks and Dunn...Is country music growing up in Australia?
Yes.  There isn’t much country music on the radio here, so long standing perceptions of country music as “backwards” are difficult to overcome.  The big tours by Brooks & Dunn and Tim McGraw are helping to convince mainstreams Aussies that country music is good mainstream entertainment.
10-Do you want to add something and tell something to FACM (French Association of Country Music) and French fans?

We hope to see you at CMA Music festival next June.!

Interview (2010): Florent Dufour

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