Traveling to the Country Music Awards (CMA) Music Festival in Nashville, Tenn. was no vacation for couple and WAMZ morning show producer and radio personality Ron and Mel Fisher, but their fifth annual trip from June 7 to 10 was a whirlwind of music, interviews, and even bathtubs.
With 71,000 attendees each day, the 41st annual CMA Music Fest showcased performances by country music superstars like Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton, among others. Ron and Mel interviewed more than 70 artists during the festival, catching up with bigger stars they’ve met before like Miranda Lambert, but mostly focusing on the up-and-coming artists of the genre.
From chatting with One Tree Hill star Jana Kramer about her Top 20 single “Why Ya Wanna” to discussing upcoming Louisville performances with Justin Moore, Mel spiced up interviews with laughter and even strange locations.
A bathtub display was set up at their interview location in Music Row LIVE! by their broadcast sponsor Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting. Naturally, Mel hopped right into the bathtub with the men of Love and Theft, who are currently on tour with Brad Paisley.
“When I was in the bathtub this morning, I wasn’t thinking I was gonna get to be in another bathtub with three other people today,” Eric Gunderson told Mel during the interview. The other half of the duo, Stephen Barker Liles, quipped back, “Just keep your hands to yourself bro.”
Aside from acting out imaginary rowing and brainstorming an album about whirlpools and showers, Mel had a chance to speak to American Idol’s Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina. Alaina actually got a little embarrassed when discussing her new upcoming single written by Carrie Underwood, titled “18 Inches”, describing the distance from your head to your heart.
“I’m glad it went that direction,” Mel said about the title’s significance. “It could have gone horrifically wrong.” “It could have gone south,” Alaina responded without realizing, and then hid her face in her hands while laughing.
Making even a busier weekend for Nashville, the Country Music Television (CMT) Awards were held on June 6, the night before the festival started. Ron and Mel attended Artist Luke Bryan’s fan club party on Friday, celebrating his CMT Music Award for Best Male Video.
“Luke Bryan is always nice. He’s always cordial,” Ron said. Bryan admitted that he was slightly hungover from the previous night, but Mel assured him that winning an award called for celebration.
While musicians were celebrating awards, performing concerts and signing autographs, Ron and Mel labored through their hectic schedule. First they would talk to artists during the day and then go back to the hotel to load videos, edit audio, prepare for the next day’s remote broadcasts, load content for the website, and of course, update social media. “There is no vacation whatsoever in this. When we are there, it is pretty much work from the get go,” Ron explained.
Even though Ron and Mel were often running on an hour of sleep, they managed to see new and classical performances, including the “Bluegrass Generations” concert. The show featured a range of modern and established artists, including Ricky Skaggs, Dailey + Vincent, The Roys, Teddy Gentry from Alabama, Rhonda Vincent and Jimmy Fortune.
For more photos and interviews with CMA Music Festival performers from Ron and Mel, visit www.whas.com/pages/RonandMel.html.