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Brian Thiele Interview

Brian Thiele
Vice President, NAtional Promotion
Black River Christian

Career Capsule:
I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA before moving to Nashville. My first positions were as Promotion Coordinator at MCA Records and Lost Highway Records. In Jan. 2004, I became Director of Promotion/Northeast at Vivaton Records before joining EMI CMG as Manager, National Promotion. From there I rose to Senior Director, National Promotion at Word Entertainment before joining Black River in January 2017.


Brian, Tell us about what’s new with you, your latest adventures, happenings at Black River Christian?

It’s going to be an amazing year at BRC! We’ve got a new Hannah Kerr single called “Ordinary” that is out now and already creating a buzz. Josh Wilson continues to write and record music and was just recently in the studio working on something brand new that I can’t wait for people to hear. Also, a brand-new Black River signing! Matty Mullins has a SMASH on his hands and I can’t wait for radio to get a hold of it.


Since you have a such a busy schedule, how do you best manage your responsibilities and priorities?

I try to take things one day at a time. I’m pretty quick to answer an email and I usually don’t sit on those because I don’t like inbox build up. I try to prioritize what needs to get done over what can wait while still trying to ‘shut things off’ after work hours so I can concentrate on my family.


Complete this sentence: The best way to get a new artist recognized is to____________?

This is a good question. In a world where everyone wants to be “seen” on social media it can be harder and harder to break through, but I do think a strong presence across all social media is important. I also think it starts with having an artist that can balance talent, a hit song, and relationship skills. I still believe that having face to face interactions with radio and other business partners is a great way to break through.


Generally speaking how do you see the state of Christian radio?

Generally speaking, I think Christian radio is healthy! And I think healthy can mean more than just “it’s doing well.” I think we’re having healthy discussions about the future, I think there’s a healthy awareness of the need to move forward sonically without compromising where we are now and where we’ve come from, and I think Christian radio is making strides to have the right people in the right positions so that we’re a part of the healthy competition in each market.


Regarding record sales how has it changed ….please explain?

Artists sell physical product on the road and direct to consumer from their websites. At the label, our main concentration is streaming and digital.


What promotions with radio have you been involved with personally that are most memorable?

There are so many good ones. A couple that come to mind are The Joy Ride put on by Joy FM in St Louis, The Brown Bag Concert Series that KSBJ does, The JOY FM in Tampa needs to bring back The Summer Cruise J and WAY-FM’s backpack campaign. All of these are well done promotions!


Do you feel the record/radio relationship is still as important as it has been in the past………..explain how its same/different?

YES, still as important as ever! It’s the same because we’re working hard to find artists to sign and songs to promote that can impact the radio audience. We also continue to want to give radio access to our artists for events, promotions, on air interviews and concerts. Relationships are a key part to all of this and they should be as important to radio as they are to record labels. It’s different because we have different tools to help promote our songs. Streaming and social media provide additional analytics we can use to help show the potential of how a song could work with the listener.


What advice would you give to someone jumping from radio to records?

Look before you leap! 

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