Melissa Etheridge sings at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner. Photo courtesy of the NAB.
Melissa Etheridge wowed the audience of about 1,000 radio bigwigs at the Marconi Awards in Dallas Thursday night not only with her trademark husky vocals and powerful guitar rhythms, but with a hearty endorsement of radio itself.
The singer performed solo, accompanying herself on acoustic six- and 12-string guitars as well as electric guitar for three songs including one from her current album. She appeared at the midpoint of the evening’s award presentations.
The audience responded warmly to her ad hoc comments about the role of radio in her youth in Leavenworth, Kan., in the 1960s and ’70s, and later in her music career.
“I love radio,” she said, then emphatically repeated the sentiment several times.
Etheridge, 51 and a breast cancer survivor, thanked the industry for playing her songs and helping raise money and awareness for cancer research; she also jokingly forgave radio hosts for talking so much about her personal life.
She said her love for radio and for telling others about music are what led her to host her own show, “The Melissa Etheridge Radio Show,” launched in 2011 and syndicated by Benztown Radio Networks. She described the unfamiliar sensation of working alone in a studio without having a live audience providing feedback.
Lending further star power to the event was Alabama front man Randy Owen, also a cancer survivor and co-founder of the radiothon Country Cares for St. Jude’s Kids. The Marconis were sponsored by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, beneficiary of hundreds of millions of dollars raised through those radiothons.