THE BRIDGE BETWEEN THE FAN AND THE MUSIC
NASHVILLE SINCE 1993
Oklahoma native Storme Warren started his career in radio in Tulsa. Now he’s one of the most recognizable names in country music media, championing new songs and talent on Sirius XM’s The Highway.
“I’ve always loved radio, it was my first love,” Storme says. After beginning his career in Tulsa, he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked for CNN. He was working on the technical side of things, but wanted to be a producer for their show Showbiz Today. “The producer said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna give you one shot at this, and if we like the story we’ll air it and let you do another one,’” Storme recalls. “So I figured I had one shot at it, and so I picked my childhood idol.” His idol was Charlie Daniels, who the Oklahoman had never met before.
“I met him, interviewed him … I was horrible,” Storme says. “But his answers were outstanding, and he knew exactly what he was working with. He saw that my hunger was there and that my passion was there, so he made sure to make the best product possible, and so the story was really good, but it had nothing to do with me.”
Charlie took him under his wing. A few years later, Storme recalls, the living legend called him and told him it was time he moved to Nashville. “Nashville needs you. LA does not,” Charlie told Storme.
He moved to Nashville in 1993, and took a job with TNN as a reporter. 12 years ago, Sirius XM approached him with the job that he’s most known by today, hosting The Storme Warren morning show on their country channel The Highway. He was enthusiastic about the ability to return to radio.
With The Highway, he and his team are at the front lines of country music discovery through radio. They hand-pick artists and songs worth championing, many of whom get their first taste of exposure on The Highway and go on to have massive success at terrestrial radio and beyond. Artists like Brett Young, Carly Pearce, and Russell Dickerson all received heavy play prior to their breakout successes. Storme has been referred to by The Tennessean as the “Dick Clark of Nashville.”
Songs get to Storme in a variety of ways, from artist showcases to recommendations from colleagues to searching YouTube or chance meetings on the streets. “It comes from everywhere,” he says. “There’s no true path to get a song on The Highway, it just somehow finds us or we find it in the little nooks and crannies.”
In each, he’s looking for something unique and fresh. “All I can say is I know it when I don’t hear it,” he says of Highway-quality music. “We’re looking for songs that are so impactful that are gonna change people’s lives instantly from the first play, and sometimes be very divisive. I want people to love the music we play on The Highway as much as hate it, cuz if you have no reaction whatsoever, you’ve missed the mark.”
Aside from The Highway, Storme has expanded his impressive roster of projects to continue to connect fan to music. He owns a production company, which is working on a variety of products from a songwriters’ package to a game show. He curates and hosts the Nashville House Concert series, which brings a casual living room performance feel to the War Memorial Auditorium once a month. In between, he continues to do voice-over work, and hosts festivals all over the world.
For Storme, no two days are the same. ”Each day presents a new opportunity,” he says. “Be open and spontaneous to whatever the day has in store, and don’t restrict yourself too much. It’s amazing what you can experience.”
Each day, however, is towards a similar goal. “Whether it’s through streaming platforms, whether it’s being a radio personality or a host of a festival or organizing live music, I can do my job to be the bridge between the fan and the music,” he says. “That’s the only job I think I was put here on Earth to do.”
Follow on Instagram @stormewarren