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Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney mourns the loss of a member of the country music community  Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP

There are a lot of people who help make a country artist’s career happen. Managers, publicists and booking agents all have specific roles and become key parts to an entertainer’s success. So it’s easy to see how, after years of working with these teams, incredible bonds and relationships are built, and how devastating it is when it is time to say goodbye.

Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney took on the heavy responsibility of sharing the heartbreaking news that a key member of their team has passed away.

Joe Don tweeted that beloved music industry executive, friend and fan Eddie Mascolo lost his battle with cancer on Jan. 12 at the age of 76.

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According to industry publication “Music Row,” Eddie began his career in the music industry as an independent pop music promoter in the late 1960s. The native of the Pittsburgh area then utilized that vast experience when he joined the country music community in the mid-1970s, becoming a record promoter for country artists who had pop crossover potential. His experience and focused efforts helped to deliver crossover hits for Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Ronnie Milsap, Alabama, Sylvia, Deborah Allen and Kenny Rogers.

As most executives do, Eddie worked at multiple record labels during his prolific career, including Decca, Polygram, RCA, Mercury and River North, before becoming part of Reba’s Starstruck Entertainment executive team. In addition to Reba, Eddie also helped promote music for Vince Gill, Collin Raye and Rascal Flatts.

Eddie continued his relationship with Rascal Flatts when he became part of their Turner & Nichols management team. As Joe Don points out, though, he was integral in the promotion of many of their 17 No. 1 singles.

Record promoters are a significant member of an artist’s team, as they are responsible for reaching out to radio stations across the United States to encourage them to play the music of the artists they represent. It is those calls that help drive music to those highly desired chart-topping positions. In addition to making weekly calls to the designated group of stations in the markets, they also attend artist’s shows in those markets and travel with their acts to help build those important relationships between entertainer and radio.

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January has already been a difficult month for losses in the country music community. In addition to Eddie, radio pioneer Len Ellis died on Jan. 14 at the age of 89 and North Carolina’s WQDR fan favorite Lisa McKay lost a very brief battle with bile duct cancer on Jan. 18 at the age of 54.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Rascal Flatts, as well as the friends, family and all of those saddened by the passing of Eddie Mascolo.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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