"Obviously, one of our main goals is to drive tune-in," said Lisa Chader, VP of corporate communications for CMT. Another goal is "putting our awards show on the same playing field as some of the big broadcast television awards show."
To do that, CMT is reaching out to entertainment trade media, as well as consumer and lifestyle publications, with help from its AOR, Nashville-based Wortman Works. The show's red carpet – and the paparazzi – also adds to the reputation of the show, Chader said.
"We're a country music awards show. We're on cable. We tape in Nashville, so it's not as easy for [media outlets] to send a crew," Chader said of the PR challenges. The network, therefore, builds on partnerships with media outlets like USA Weekend and People magazine, which will sponsor the Breakthrough Video of the Year award and the show's afterparty, respectively.
As the awards are all decided by a fan vote, CMT decided to host a "fan conference," with CMT's Lance Smith and artist Kellie Pickler, instead of a traditional press conference to announce the nominees on May 19.
Since then, the network has used its Web presence to promote the awards and drive people to CMT.com to vote. Online, the network uses Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, and the CMT.com team will be live-blogging from the red carpet and awards show.
"They stuck their toe in the water last year with [social networking], but we have [an] increased presence [this year]," Chader said. "They created Web tools for the different artists, so on their fan sites, whether it's a button or icon, it drives back to CMT.com for people to vote."
*A previous version of this article gave the awards show date of June 7. PRWeek regrets the error.