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Clear Channel And Sony Music To Search For New Talent Via Radio Star

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Clear Channel and Sony Music are joining forces in a nationwide search for the nation's next recording star. The entertainment and media companies together with national sponsor Winterfresh gum today will launch Radio Star, a joint 14-week talent search, on Feb. 16. Radio Star is the brainchild of Premiere Radio Networks, a Clear Channel division, Sony Music and Clear Channel Radio. Winterfresh later joined the promotion as Radio Star's exclusive national sponsor.

The Radio Star grand prize is a one-way ticket to fame. Waiting at the end of the contest for the talented and as-yet unknown artist is a Sony Music recording contract. Clear Channel will kick in a $50,000 bonus for a celebrity wardrobe and makeover. The winner will also appear as an opening act in two live Clear Channel radio station concerts in New York and Los Angeles: at New York's Z100 Jingle Ball 2004 and at Los Angeles' KIIS-FM Jingle Ball. Just in case he or she needs some help managing the new fame and fortune, The William Morris Agency will stand by with a management contract for the new artist. And there are other prizes for the runner ups, including demo deals with Sony Music.

Clear Channel radio stations in approximately 50 markets, both large and small, will begin sharing details on how to enter Radio Star on Feb. 16. The stations, along with national sponsor Winterfresh, will promote the contest for three weeks on-air, on-line and in some cases at special remotes or "live auditions." Contestants will be directed to a special "Radio Star" Web site with more information on how to submit their entries.

It's up to the creativity of each station to select local contestants. Each week, participating stations each select an act to submit to Sony Music's panel of judges. The review panel includes professionals from Sony Music's A&R team, recording artists, radio programmers and industry professionals.

Beginning in March, "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest and New York's Z100 morning air personality Elvis Duran will host a weekly, one-hour Radio Star special on selected Clear Channel stations nationwide. Each week for 10 weeks the broadcast, produced by Premiere Radio Networks and sponsored nationally by Winterfresh gum, will feature seven "semi finalists" selected by the Radio Star judges. Listeners will vote for their favorite artists featured on that week's show, using online polling, powered by via the dedicated Radio Star Web site accessed from participating stations' sites. The sites will also feature pictures, bios and other information about the artists. The weekly online winner advances to the "quarter finals," one step closer to stardom.

The country's newest Radio Star will be selected in true "superstar" style. Radio Star judges will study each of the finalists and select three to move on to the Grand Finale and a shot at the Sony Music recording deal. Seacrest and Duran will host a two-hour "live" Radio Star special, sponsored by Winterfresh, featuring the three finalists and other Sony Music/Epic Records recording artists. The country's newest "Radio Star" will be selected live on-air during the program.

Clear Channel Radio Senior Vice President, Programming Tom Owens, Senior Vice President, Programming Tom Poleman and Premiere Radio Networks Senior Vice President Gary Krantz worked with Sony Music to develop the Radio Star project over the last several months. Coordinating the logistics of a nationwide contest, a national sponsor, a leading record company, hundreds of radio stations and a live network is a challenging undertaking. But, says Krantz, the result will be unprecedented in radio history.

"Clear Channel is committed to seeking out new ways to nurture local musical talent," says Krantz. "The Radio Star contest is one example of how Clear Channel Radio can use its stations' ties to the local communities they serve and national infrastructure to launch the careers of local musicians. In addition to our Top 40 and Adult Contemporary radio stations we were able to utilize various Clear Channel platforms, including Premiere Radio Networks, CCRI, our Internet division, and the Clear Channel New Music Network, to take this event nationwide. Sony Music and Winterfresh have been instrumental in making this initiative a reality and we're excited to be working with these two power-houses to uncover the next musical sensation."

"Radio Star is a great way to discover new talent," comments Steve Barnett, executive vice president, general manager, Epic Records. "I look forward to working with both Clear Channel and Winterfresh as we roll out this ambitious new initiative, as well as to giving a few talented hopefuls the chance to connect with audiences from across the country." –Bob Grosweiner and Jane Cohen