The Country Radio Seminar, or CRS, is the largest annual gathering of Country radio professionals, and this year allegations of sexual misconduct have cast a shadow over the seminar for many as leaders from Country Radio Broadcasters stayed silent.
In January, an article was published by Rolling Stone talking about sexual harassment and misconduct in Country radio, and CRS was mentioned numerous times.
"It's something that's so behind the scenes, and it destroys careers," Camille Rae, a Country music artist attending her second CRS, said. "It destroys souls. We come here with a dream, and we're so eager. I'm so eager to just get to that next level."
On Monday, a NewsChannel 5 crew attempted to interview Bill Mayne, the executive director of Country Radio Broadcasters, about the seminar this week, as well as the sexual misconduct allegations. The interview was initially granted, but later denied. The credentials for our crew were revoked, and our crew was asked to leave.
As of Tuesday evening, during the second day of CRS, no CRS officials had made any public comment about sexual misconduct allegations during CRS or by any attendees of CRS.
For many, including Camille Rae, that silence is unsettling.
"I like to stand up for what I believe in, so I believe it's better to have a stance on what you believe in and really speak out toward it," Rae said. "No matter what way you look at it, there's nothing right about it, so I believe it's just going to take brave people who are willing to maybe get a little bit of criticism here and there to just stand up, step out, and speak."
Rae said she had never experienced any sexual harassment or misconduct first-hand at CRS or during a radio tour, and for her and many others, CRS is a great event that can help move a career forward.
"If it weren't for those amazing people in Country Music, Country radio, that really do take you under their wing in a positive way and push you forward, then I wouldn't still be here. I know that," Rae said.
Rae hopes Country Music officials will speak out against sexual misconduct and make it clear that it's unacceptable, that way the focus can be on the good that comes out of Country radio and those who work in the industry.
Wednesday is the final day of CRS, and the seminar is planning on having two workshops titled "A Conversation About Harassment." In the description, it says the workshop will answer questions individuals might have as it pertains to the topic, including how to recognize harassment, how to avoid it, and what to do about it.