Debut Series Under New partnership, “Live from CMH23,” to Premiere November 5 on The Country Network
Non-Profit Changing Lives in the Region and Helping Generations to Come
Preview the forthcoming 13-part series HERE
(NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Oct. 25, 2018) – After one and one-half years in the making, The Country Network (TCN) and Appalachian CMH23, Inc. (CMH23) have announced a newly formed partnership, sharing their vision, and blending resources and logos to produce a new regional cable television channel called CMH23. The channel will offer original programming dedicated to building future music careers, growing and promoting tourism and highlighting history and events in the counties along the Country Music Highway. This hybrid channel takes The Country Network programming and inserts local content creating a hometown feel, which is exclusive to this new regional network.
The idea for this new channel, CMH23, came about when the Governor challenged the cities along the Country Music Highway and the Appalachian Region to utilize what they are best known for – their local musical talent and picturesque beauty – to make a difference. From this challenge came CMH23, an idea developed between Keith Casebolt and Gearheart Communications that eventually grew into a non-profit spearheaded by Appalachian Wireless CEO Allen Gillum, Keith Casebolt, and Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton. CMH23 will operate as a website (CMH23.com) and a television channel (CMH23) and partner with TCN, a national network, to expand its reach. This concept originated during the first SOAR summit (Shaping Our Appalachian Region), a local initiative that works to expand job creation, enhance regional opportunity, innovation, and identity, improve the quality of life, and support all those working to achieve these goals in Appalachian Kentucky.
The debut show under the partnership, “Live from CMH23,” is a 13-part series that will premiere November 5 on The Country Network. The show will introduce viewers to the next generation of artists and musicians from this region, featuring interviews and live performances as well as showcasing the natural beauty of Eastern Kentucky. It will be broadcast nationally on The Country Network and regionally on CMH23 (available eventually in approximately 200,000 cable households along the Country Music Highway).
The first one-hour episode made its debut to local Kentucky dignitaries in Prestonsburg at the Mountain Arts Center (MAC) on Oct. 12, 2018. Cary Rolfe, VP of Programming and Artists Relations, Tim Eaton, President and CEO of The Country Network, and CMH23 Board Members Allen Gillum, Keith Casebolt, Mayor Les Stapleton, Amanda Clark, and Dew Gorman participated in a panel discussion to elaborate on how the project came to fruition and the event was open to the public.
“We are excited to have an opportunity to join with TCN on such a valuable partnership,” commented Les Stapleton, Mayor, City of Prestonsburg, Ky. “Being able to showcase our local talent on a National stage is a door that has never been opened but being able to share content with TCN is an asset that can illustrate to the Nation what talent our rich culture has afforded us. As a region, we have always been proud of our history, culture, and talent. Pairing that with our natural beauty and unique terrain, then utilizing CMH23.com to guide people to our area, we will make an impact on the economy of Appalachia.“
TCN and its production arm, Panther Island Productions. shot the first season of 13 episodes in April 2018 at the Hillbilly Days Festival in Pikeville, Kentucky, at the historic Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, Kentucky, and the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. TCN and Panther Island Productions returned in October 2018 to shoot the second season.
The unique partnership between The Country Network and CMH23 allows TCN to help supplement the funding of this non-profit by donating up to 20% of CMH23’s cable affiliate fees and allowing the channel to keep proceeds from locally inserted commercial spots. “It’s a pleasure to partner with such a great organization like Appalachian CMH23 Inc. who is trying to help their economy thru tourism,” Tim Eaton, President & CEO, The Country Network commented regarding the new venture. “Being able to create original programming from such a musically historic region is a Producer’s dream.”
Keith Casebolt had this to add about the new partnership, “I want to thank The Country Network for their passion! We share the same sentiments and believe that fate has brought us together in realizing the vision and becoming our partner in this project. Their commitment has changed an entire region and made a difference that will last for generations to come.”
Earlier this month CMH23 was honored with an Innovation Award and Grant at the 2018 SOAR Awards held in Pikeville at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
About Country Music Highway 23 (US Route 23 Highway): Country Music Highway 23 is the historic 144-mile highway, which spans over seven counties of Kentucky’s Appalachian region, running through the hills and the hollows, overflowing with melody. It is well known for producing the most County Music superstars per capita. Some of its famous residents who grew up and perfected their craft in the small towns on Highway 23 include Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, The Judds, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tom T. Hall, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, and Chris Stapleton.
About Appalachian CMH 23: Appalachian CMH23, Inc. (CMH23) was organized as a non-profit corporation in February 2018. One of the central missions of CMH23 is to provide educational opportunities and vocational training relating to the music industry and video production, which will be accomplished, in part, through its partnership with Big Sandy Community and Technical College. CMH23 also seeks to support local artists, to bring attention to the arts and the unique culture and heritage of the Appalachian region, and to promote tourism.
About CMH 23: CMH23 is a TV Channel that serves the territory along US 23 from Ashland, Kentucky to Kingsport, Tennessee, and 60 miles from that route in each direction to reach parts of Virginia and West Virginia. Many famous country stars were born on this stretch of road known as the Country Music Highway 23! The channel plays Country music videos and offers full Multimedia LIVE Local Event programming. The channel is based in the center of the Country Music Highway and produced from the Mountain Arts Center (MAC), in Prestonsburg, KY.
About The Country Network: The Country Network (“TCN”) is an innovative music video network dedicated to providing today’s country music enthusiasts more choices in televised and digital programming. TCN is the premier 4K television network dedicated exclusively to airing country music videos, 4K original and exclusive programming. The Country Network is the fastest growing Country music network and is in over 51 markets with more than 40 million DMA households. TCNcountry.com “Country Music, all the time.” The channel is available in multiple platforms and is distributed in 4K, HD and SD and can be picked up by Cable, Satellite, HD Antenna and streaming devices like Roku and online at http://www.tcncountry.com.
Left to Right: Mayor Les Stapleton (Not Pictured) Dew Gorman (Board Member), Amanda Clarke (Board Member), Allen Gillum (Board Member), Tim Eaton, Cary Rolfe, Clayton Case (Exec Director, MAC), Keith Casebolt (Board Member) at podium. Jeff Doss (Harlan Board) member was absent.
Photo Credit: Donna Davis
Panther Island Productions crew records an episode of “Live From CMH23” at the MAC in Prestonsburg, KY.
Photo Credit: Donna Davis