On the radio

It's all about the voice.

Hunter Kelly, a broadcaster with ABC News Radio since 2006, owns one of the most recognizable voices in country-music media.

Kelly is on hand at major country music events, including the CMA Awards and CMA Music Festival, the ACM Awards and the Country Radio Seminar.

Before his tenure at ABC News Radio, Kelly also worked for numerous publications and press services including Billboard.

Kelly, a graduate of Belmont University's music business program, first shared his news and views on the music industry as a member of the Belmont Vision staff.

Although many assume the country-music industry can be a conservative environment, Kelly hasn't endured the discrimination that many others face in their workplaces.

"I think people would be surprised there are gay people everywhere," he says. "I've never felt prejudice. I came out when I was at Premiere Radio. There's definitely a place for gay people behind-the-scenes, but it's different and much harder for an out gay country star."

Professionalism and preparation are key factors in Kelly's field, and he says his sexuality is never a focus during interviews.

"I'm an interviewer first," Kelly says. "My job is to read the room and get the best interview out of that person. I don't feel like it's going to be different whether I'm straight or gay in terms of how I approach an artist and connect them. I just want to get the best answers."

Through the years, Kelly has persevered in a turbulent industry by showing respect for Music Row's leading lights and

"You're not gonna love every artist that you interview," Kelly says. "It's a job, and you have to show up day after day. The thing that sets everybody apart is work ethic. It can be glamorous, but if you don't work at it, it's just not gonna happen. It can be a 24-hour-a day job where you have to drop everything and report. It's kind of an unpredictable life, but that's what makes it exciting."

With the news industry experiencing a number of layoffs, employees are faced with added responsibilities. But despite the constant demands of his position, working in the country-music business also offers ample rewards.

"It's great to work in this genre that I love so much," Kelly says. to know the history of this genre, and to recognize people that are shaping the future of country music.  Getting to champion them and see people get on board is really gratifying.

More about Hunter Kelly:

Favorite celebrity interview: Wynonna. "I loved music my entire life; it's been a huge part of my life. It's almost like an obsession. It's funny because what I do---chronicling country music---began when I was 14 years old. That was in the days of Compuserve. I handled the Wynonna section, and I would post stories and chat with people. I was just obsessed with country music."

Favorite celebrity encounter: Taylor Swift 30-minute interview  she was so great    handwritten thank you note 

Favorite current country artists: Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Jason Aldean. "I feel like I've been there from the beginning of their careers and now they're headlining arenas and winning awards."

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