Tammy Genovese grew up in a small town, moved to the big city, and then, subsequently, did very well for herself. For many years she headed up the Country Music Association. In April 2010, she took on the task of establishing a new television network.
Hard work ethic? No doubt. But it’s her “can do” philosophy and love of family that will inspire you.
Did you always know you wanted to work in the entertainment business?
I always loved music. I grew up in Corinth, Mississippi, a small town in North Mississippi. My family was big in the church, and they all sang, played instruments, and my mom even sang in a group that played around the community. I also woke up every morning listening to the radio—and, yes, it was country music. I enjoyed watching the CMA Awards and was a huge Barbara Mandrell fan. But I did not know that I was destined for the entertainment business at that young age.
What was you first job in the industry and how did it come about?
My first job was at CMA, starting in 1985. I was working as a corporate auditor and accountant at Genesco Inc. in Nashville. I was also at MTSU working on an accounting degree. But I did not enjoy the daily accounting work, so I began to look around for some other opportunities. Through word of mouth, I learned of an administrative services position open at CMA. I interviewed with Jo Walker Meador and Ed Benson and within a couple of weeks I was working there overseeing the accounting, office management, front office responsibilities, etc. And of course the rest is history. I was there until December 2009.
You worked your way up from administrative service coordinator to CEO of the Country Music Association, a tremendous achievement. In your 24 years with the CMA, what was your most significant challenge?
I loved the work at CMA and when you enjoy what you do, the challenges are less significant. I am a doer and a maker and I don’t typically sit around and wait on things to happen. My motto is don’t expect great things to happen—make great things happen. So when I make up my mind to do something, I do it. And that was my approach at CMA. Yes, climbing the corporate ladder while being a female, having and raising children, etc. was always a challenge. And, as I have said many times, a female will typically need to go the extra mile to prove herself and her commitment to her career. I did this by getting my MBA at age 31. I felt I had to have an extra edge to move up so, while I was pregnant with my first child, I was also working on my MBA through the University of Phoenix. Thank God for technology and distance learning opportunities.
Let’s talk about your latest challenge. You left the CMA to head up The Country Network (TCN), a 24-hour country music video network. What most influenced that decision and what have you learned from the new challenges you have faced?
I actually left CMA in December of 2009, and officially started at The Country Network on April 15, 2010. I left CMA just because it was time and I was ready for a break. CMA was amazing and I would not take anything for the experience and opportunity to meet so many great people. But it was time for a change. So when I left I was not aware of The Country Network position. However, they did call me the day my resignation was announced, but they did not offer me the position until late January, early February.
Working for a high-profile trade association and working for a start-up network, obviously—two different worlds. The transition has been somewhat challenging just in my thought process and understanding of the business model and broadcast world. But I have loved the opportunity to learn new things and broaden the scope of my experience. I am very motivated by the flexibility and independence of working for The Country Network. We are positioned to partner with the music community and the artists in a way that currently is non-existent—the sky is the limit for us. If we can dream it, we can do it. That is really fun!!
How does TCN differ from CMT and GAC, and what are your first year goals for the new network?
We are different in many ways.
First and foremost we play country music videos 24/7/365. We are a network designed to facilitate the interaction between artists and fans. We build our programming around new artists, current and top 20 artists, and the legends. We create themed blocks of time to allow different programming aspects of our day and we use Artists VJ’s as our hosts.
Additionally, our distribution is significantly different from GAC and CMT. Our first distribution agreement is with Sinclair Broadcast Group, allowing us to roll out our launch market by market, providing a local presence opportunity. This allows for partnerships with the music community by customized promotion and programming. We can also partner with country radio in each market. We are scheduled to be on the air in 25 million homes by first quarter of 2011.
How can country fans learn more about The Country Network (TCN) and its availability in their area?
Please visit www.tcncountry.com and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Have you ever considered writing a book about your experiences in the entertainment industry? If so… what would you title it?
Yes, maybe one day… not sure about the title. I am thinking that would develop as I wrote the book.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
I am grateful every day for the life that I have been given. And I would like to say that many of the great moments were all planned out by me and executed beautifully—but we would all know that is not true. My belief is that we have to prepare ourselves for all opportunities. I believe that is the definition of luck, opportunity meets preparation. So, to answer your question—yes! I never imagined such joy of bringing children into this world and watching them grow into teenagers and young adults. I have two beautiful kids—Nolan is 18 and a senior this year at Christ Presbyterian Academy, and Callie is 14 and a freshman at CPA. I love my work and being a part of the music and business community, but my kids are my life, and I would not take anything in the world for that experience. They have probably taught me as much as I have taught them through their passion and zeal for life and all that it brings.
A few fun questions…
This website features writers as well as musicians, so I like to mix it up a bit. What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I love news and gossip magazines. I do not find a lot of time to just sit and read a book. But, for example, the last book I read was Eat, Pray, Love. Great book and movie!!!
After a tough day at the office, what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Spaghetti (our favorite dinner food at my house) and a good glass of wine (obvious reasons after tough day at work).
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
Happy – upbeat!!!
Are you a major or a minor chord?
I would like to think major!!
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Ha – I love this question and I am sure you want me to be truthful… probably the little girl trying to walk in high heels. I am always trying something new and love a challenge.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets.
I have an 11-year old Red Bone Blood Hound named Sadie. She is a sweetheart. And I have a four-year-old white Lab named Dixie. Dixie thinks she is the queen around our house, but Sadie really rules the roost.
Thank you, Tammy! It’s a pleasure to have you at DivineDetour!
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For more information about The Country Network (TCN), logon to www.tcncountry.com.
Follow TCN on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TCNCOUNTRY.
Connect with TCN on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TheCountryNetwork.