1- Can you introduce yourself in a few words and explain us what's your job at GAC ?
My name is Lee Hall and I am director of communications for Scripps Networks, the company that owns Great American Country (GAC), HGTV, Food Network and other television channels in the U.S. My job involves finding ways to spread the word about our television channels to both journalists and the public. It is a great a job, because we have such great stories to tell.

2- What's the aim of GACtv ? and do you think that one day, we could watch GACtv in france ?
GAC's "mission statement" is to be the main street for the widest variety of country music, its artists and the lifestyles they influence. Music remains the main focus. As far as getting GAC in France, who knows what the future will bring.

3- Who are your favorites artists?
My interests run the gamut from the classic artists like Johnny Cash and Ronnie Milsap to the bluegrass of Flatt & Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs and Alison Krauss. I also very much enjoy modern performers including Faith Hill, Gretchen Wilson and Garth Brooks.

4- What do you think about country music evolution ?
The popularity of country music in the U.S. seems to go in waves. The so-called "urban cowboy" craze of the 1970s helped to elevate country to a more mainstreet acceptance in America. Today, many popular country artists get a lot of play on non-country radio stations, which helps to spread the word to audiences who might not otherwise listen.

5- What do you think about americans artists performing in Europe and especially in France, as Hal Ketchum, David Lee Murphy, Marty Stuart, etc...?

It is wonderful to see audiences around the world embrace this kind of music. It proves that country music has a universal appeal.

6- How we must work in France to promote country music correctly ?
At GAC, we find that country music fans are most passionate about both the music and the artists. And many of the best American songwriters today are writing country songs, in part because it is about the only music genre around today that allows for the kind of passion and expression. Country performers are also among the best popular musicians around today. When you combine the passion, the lyrical quality and the musicianship, you get a very potent mix. It's been shown here in the U.S. that the more people are exposed to country music, the more become fans. No reason to believe it would not work in France and elsewhere.

7- Can you imagine that people in the world, and especially in Europe, and especially in France could listen country music...and appreciate it ?
It is often said that we are becoming a global society. In my hometown in Tennessee, we have restaurants that feature what we might consider "exotic" foods of other lands. It stands to reason that people all over the world could embrace American country music. It has universal appeal.

8- What's your best memory about country music ? and the baddest ?

When I was in college, I got to hear the legendary Earl Monroe play a concert a little club near my school. It was a magical moment. As for the worst experience, without question it was the death of Patsy Cline, whose plane went down near my hometown in Western Tennessee. I was a very young child then, but I remember it very well.

9- How do you explain popularity of country music and of the GAC?

Among the types of music available to American consumers today, country is the only genre that combines great story lines, memorable lyrics and great musicianship. People find it easy to appreciate. It's also available everywhere on local radio as well as on GAC on television. Country for many years has been the most popular musical format on American radio. GAC's popularity is increasing because we remain true to the music. A national ratings service here in the U.S. reported recently that GAC played 42 percent more music than its nearest competitor. Other music channels in the U.S. are moving away from their music roots and into other types of programming that they believe will draw a larger audience. Our mission to is to focus on the music and to bring GAC viewers the story behind the music with interviews and special programs that put the fans in touch with their favorite artists.

10- Some words for FACM and Country music fans in France ?
Enjoy the music and spread the word. As I said before, the more people who hear the music begin to appreciate it more. Congratulations on your success with the French Country Music Awards and thank you for your interest in GAC. It would please me greatly to one day be able to turn on a television in Toulouse and see Faith Hill on GAC. I look forward to that day...

Interview: Florent