Multiple music hall of fame member Randall Franks, a former NBC and CBS actor who appeared as “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” is among the thousands of actors and music entertainers who are perfecting new opportunities to reach those who care about what they do.
Like so many performers, Mr. Franks sees the Ides of March 2020 as a cutting point of his acting and music-based career as it was. His effort received a recent lifeline when he was chosen as the first 2020 AirPlay Direct Evolution Grant recipient.
“We believe in the determination of our industry to not only survive this tragic time, but to evolve, learn and grow during the process," said Lynda Weingartz CEO – AirPlay Direct. "Our new “2020 Evolution Grants” program was created to support, educate and enrich the global music community, both artists and small businesses alike. Randall is a gifted artist and we are proud and honored to be working with him to help grow his brand and career.”
AirPlay Direct is a digital delivery / distribution company, brand and platform for engaging radio and airplay worldwide. Ms. Weingartz said AirPlay Direct created the grant program to create positive opportunities to inspire its professional colleagues to evolve, prosper and thrive during these challenging times.
Mr. Franks, of Ringgold, is the first among future artists and labels that will eventually receive the professional resources and training necessary to properly promote their music to global radio, grow their brand, and increase their global radio distribution footprint.
Mr. Franks said that the grant is aptly titled, because that is exactly how he sees his future in a state of evolution.
“Since March like many other musicians, I have sought ways to keeping my creative opportunities alive,” said Mr. Franks. “Hearing the news that I am the first recipient of the 2020 Evolution Grant provided an uplifting revelation that the future is not dictated by the bleak forecast of what we see around us. Grants such as these can help a musician or singer strive each day not to waste a single opportunity to forge new music, appeal to new audience members, build relationships that open future doors, and strive to draw new listeners to the creations of their heart."
Mr. Frank's goes on to say, "Though words are plentiful, none can exactly grasp the depth of my gratitude to AirPlay Direct for their interest and faith in my ability to continue to grow as an artist through this award. It will allow me to strive towards yet unimagined goals that further fortify the significance others find in my music, while I reach higher towards the momentum of my dreams. Thanks to Lynda and Robert Weingartz for their faith in my future!”
One new aspect of his approach is shifting his living room to a makeshift television studio. From there, he is appearing on network affiliates sharing live music, talking about his latest books and recordings, sharing memories about his films and TV shows, and even serving as a special co-host with their TV anchors. He is doing the same with radio stations, podcasts and social media producers.
“We are in a new world of what we will become during and post pandemic,” Mr. Franks said. “Many industry leaders are working diligently to develop new models under which we will stand again in front of live audiences and entertain, and how film and television creators will continue their producing while protecting all involved in the effort. But we are months away from either.”
His music is not a stranger to AirPlay Direct broadcasters, since May of 2019, he has seen his charity Share America Foundation CDs “Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia” and “Christmas Time’s A Comin’” CDs climb to #1 on the Global Album Charts in Americana and Christmas music. Nine of his other catalog albums “Keep ‘Em Smilin’,” “Handshakes and Smiles,” “Mountain Opry Memories,” “Mississippi Moon,” “Comedy Down Home” “God’s Children,” “Tunes and Tales from Tunnel Hill,” “Randall Frank Music” and “Golden River Fiddlin’,” charted, respectively, in AirPlay Direct’s Bluegrass, Folk, Gospel and Americana Global Album Charts.
His latest single “What About All These American Flags?” is from “Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia” and its video is available on Randall Franks TV on YouTube.
Because of his efforts both in front of and behind the camera, Mr. Franks said he already had a number of weekly web series in production in 2020 prior to the pandemic, including “Southern Style” highlighting his weekly newspaper column; “Author Amblings,” focusing weekly on his various book titles; and “’Doc’” Tommy Scott’s Medicine Show Memories” a weekly music educational look at America’s second longest-running touring show. Since the pandemic, he has added “Randall Franks – Songwriter’s Corner” as well as individual song features, and hosting watch parties and live visits with friends on social media.
“Artists of all types are seeking the new normal, flooding the scene with all types of visual media from home,” he said. “Fans are getting a chance to know us in a way they never have before. I am hopeful that the evolutionary path I am pursuing leads me down the strongest path for success.”
The Appalachian singer and fiddler is a member of America’s Old Time Country Hall of Fame, as well as the Independent Country Music, Atlanta Country Music; and Chamber Business Person halls of fame and is an International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame Legend.
Mr. Franks is currently completing his tenth book “Frankly Speaking: Thoughts on This and That” expected in 2021. His upcoming 2020 film is “The Cricket’s Dance.” This month he is releasing a new gospel music collection “Faith Will See Us Through” and also is in pre-production on a new Appalachian String Band recording. For more information, visit www.RandallFranks.com.