Nashville, Tenn. (October 17, 2016) – If you work in the Nashville music business and don’t know the name Charlie Monk, you probably haven’t been around very long. After all, he is the “Mayor of Music Row.” This year, Monk is celebrating six decades of blood, sweat and tears in show business.
“When I started out in 1956, I wanted to be a radio or TV star or maybe an actor,” recalls Monk. “I found out when I moved to Music City that I was a lot better at nurturing other talented people which got me into the management, publishing and production side of music. I’m proud that I have made a good living for my family, had a lot of fun hanging with super talented folks and doing a lot of different things in the entertainment world.”
Monk recently attended his 60th high school class reunion in his hometown of Geneva, Alabama. During his visit, the town presented him with his very own roadway, “Charlie Monk Lane.”
“Everybody in Geneva, Alabama, population 4,500, knew that I was the poorest kid in town but they knew that I was a hard worker and many of them gave me jobs and encouragement,” he says. “It took a village to raise me. I am unbelievably honored with this recognition and thank the mayor and city council for having the ceremony during a reunion of my 1957 high school graduating class. ‘CHARLIE MONK LANE’… that’s pretty cool.”
Charlie Monk may know everyone working in Nashville’s music community. Outside of that community, Monk may very well be Nashville’s most influential unknown. Whether entertaining America on his daily SiriusXM radio show, managing Monk Family Music or hosting a major music event, he is honest and frank in everything he does. It’s his unique personality, combined with 60 years experience in show business, that has made Monk one of the most respected executives on Music Row.
Through the years, Monk has developed strong instincts. In 1983, for example, Monk signed a young singer/songwriter named Randy Traywick — now known as Randy Travis. He signed Kenny Chesney to his first songwriting deal and negotiated his first record contract with Capricorn Records. Songwriters Monk has signed “off the street” include Marcus Hummon, Holly Dunn, Jim McBride, Keith Stegall, Aaron Tippin and Philip Douglas.
Monk Family Music Group published songs have been recorded by Travis, Tippin, Led Zeppelin, Lonestar, Reba, LeAnn Rimes, Tracy Lawrence, The Mavericks, Cheap Trick, Kenny Rogers, Sandi Patti, Glen Campbell, Otis Redding, Louise Mandrell, Trick Pony, Carolina Rain, Ike & Tina Turner, Jeff Treece, and John Michael Montgomery.
Monk’s entertainment career began in 1956, sweeping floors at WGEA in Geneva, Alabama. He landed a weekend air shift at the station and remained throughout his high school years.
While attending Troy University, Monk worked a full-time shift on WTBF radio. He later moved to Mobile to join the staff at WKRG radio and television. He was often called upon to work the television side hosting sporting events, parades, and other local happenings. While studying at the University of Alabama, Monk had a stint as program director and afternoon personality at WACT in Tuscaloosa before returning to Mobile as PD at WUNI. That country station captured the Number One position in their market under Monk’s tutelage.
In 1968, Monk made his move to Tennessee and WMTS radio to be close to the music business. His free-form music and talk show for the station was the first daily broadcast from Music Row.
He joined the staff of ASCAP in 1970, where he first became an influential player on Music Row. In 1977, he became Nashville chief of CBS Songs and in less than four years, the company became one of Music City’s top three publishers. He stayed until forming his own music publishing company, Monk Family Music Group, in 1983.
Monk took a leave of absence from his own company in 1988 to spearhead the return of Acuff-Rose to its former glory. During Monk’s tenure, Acuff-Rose was the first publisher to win both ASCAP and BMI “Most Performed Song of the Year” in the same year.
After returning to helm the Monk Family Music Group, he was named SESAC‘s Publisher of the Year in 1998.
A founder of the Country Radio Seminar, Monk produced and hosted the annual New Faces Show for over 40 years. He is an alumnus of Leadership Music, lifetime Director of the Country Radio Broadcasters, a member of the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and the Gospel Music Association. He has served as VP of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, VP of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, VP of the Gospel Music Association, Board of Leadership Music, and local President of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (now known as AFTRA-SAG). Monk was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
This year, Monk is nominated for induction into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame as well as the Country Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame.