Charlie Monk, a Country Radio Hall of Fame member who became known as The Mayor of Music Row in the Nashville music business, died on Monday, December 19, at the age of 84. The reason for the death of the music producer, composer, and radio personality is unknown. His family, though, informed Variety that Monk died quietly at home.
Monk was honored in the Country Hall of Fame in 2019 and hosted SiriusXM’s country channels, including Prime Country and Willie’s Roadhouse. Monk was renowned for his shameless sense of humor and for harmlessly ridiculing great musicians. In a statement to Country Aircheck in 2019, Monk remarked on his many job experiences,
“I’ve had a number of occupations – voice work, acting, music, publishing and I’ve managed talent. I’ve told so many falsehoods about my job that I’m not sure which ones to concentrate on.”
Charlie Monk, known as “the Mayor of Music Row” during his fifty-plus years in Nashville, died December 19. The longtime music publisher hosted SiriusXM shows, 2004 to 2022. Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, and Randy Travis are among the many performers whose careers Monk aided. pic.twitter.com/z9rh3Zjs1N
— Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (@countrymusichof) December 20, 2022
Charlie Monk’s childhood and career
Monk was born on October 29, 1938, in Geneva, Alabama, and had a difficult upbringing. According to The Tennessean newspaper, he worked as a youngster placing advertising fliers on windshields for the town’s movie theater. In high school, he swept floors at a small radio station in his hometown for $5 per week, following which he worked as a DJ. He went on to serve in the United States Army, but it was short-lived since he quickly became a DJ on WTBF radio while attending Troy State University.
Charlie Monk married Royce in 1968 and relocated to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to program WMTS, one of Tennessee’s first full-time country format stations. He eventually made his way to Music Row, where he worked for the royalties collection organization ASCAP. Throughout his career, he sponsored a number of country musicians, including Randy Travis and Kenny Chesney. In 1969, he also helped to launch the Country Radio Seminar. Monk aided the careers of country performers such as Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton.
In the year 2020, he told the Tennessean:
“I’ve assisted many individuals in achieving their objectives. I discovered that I was better at praising others than I was at praising myself. I finally accepted the truth that I am not a superstar. I eventually became the greatest Charlie Monk ever. That’s fantastic. That is exactly how I feel.”
Charlie Monk’s achievements throughout the years
Monk has been inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame, and the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame, in addition to the Country Radio Hall of Fame. He was also honored by the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame with a Lifetime Achievement Award. A roadway in his hometown was named “Charlie Monk Lane” in his honor.
Monk has received several prizes, including the CLIO Award for commercial voice work, an Addy Award, and recognition from the Mobile Press-Register, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the Nashville Association of Talent Directors. He also earned the CMA’s Joe Talbot Award for “exceptional leadership and dedication to the preservation and growth of Country Music’s values and traditions” in 2021.