Inaugural Innovation in Music Awards Deliver Fun-Filled Night of Music, Inspiration, and Interactive Experiences

Pictured L to R: (back) David Macias, J.R. Schumann, Brian O’Connell, Mike McVay, and Gogi Gupta; (front) Leslie Fram, John Esposito, and Bobby Bones.
Not pictured: Shane McAnally.
Photo Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Innovation in Music Awards

The Innovation in Music Awards celebrated the inaugural ceremony last night, June 6, at The Westin Nashville. The awards, created to celebrate those who have played a critical role in the development and advancement of the music industry, placed the spotlight on executives who are driving forward the direction of today’s musical landscape.
This year’s honorees are:
John Esposito, Warner Music Nashville – Innovator of the Year
Mike McVay, Cumulus Media/Westwood One – Heritage Award
David Macias, Thirty Tigers – Innovation in Music, Executive
Shane McAnally, SMACKSongs – Innovation in Music, Artist & Creative
Brian O’Connell, Live Nation – Innovation in Music, Live/Touring
Leslie Fram, CMT – Innovation in Music, National Media
Bobby Bones, iHeartMedia – Innovation in Music, National Radio
Gogi Gupta, Gupta Media – Innovation in Music, Digital Media
J.R. Schumann, SiriusXM – Innovation in Music, Digital Broadcast
Additionally, three Country Radio awards were given in Small, Medium and Major market categories. This year’s recipients are:
Tim Roberts, WYCD/Detroit – Innovation in Music, Major Market Radio
Bev Rainey, KBQI/Albuquerque – Innovation in Music, Medium Market Radio
Kory James, KPLM/Palm Springs – Innovation in Music, Small Market Radio
Two other individuals were recognized with a “Makes Shit Happen” award, alternatively named the “Makes Stuff Happen” award; an award that honors individuals who are known as hard working, dedicated, and exemplifying that of a forward thinker. This year’s “Makes Shit Happen” awards went to Gregg Swedberg of KEEY/Minneapolis and Tony Grotticelli of Universal Music Group Nashville.
Rascal Flatt’s Jay DeMarcus delivered a standout performance as host to a sold-out crowd. The evening included featured performances by Drew Baldridge, Bailey Bryan, Walker Hayes, Mickey Guyton, Hunter Hayes, and Josh Osborne; an insightful short-form speech on the importance of innovation by Kristian Bush; and Brett Eldredge presenting Warner Music Nashville’s John Esposito with the Innovator of the Year Award.
Throughout the entire evening, attendees were delivered an interactive experience, which included VR demos during the cocktail reception, custom table lighting detail that enhanced artist’s performances and program dynamics, and more.