R&C loses Nashville candidate

Publicity firm Rogers & Cowan’s hopes of opening a Nashville office may have been dashed as talks with the latest candidate to head the outpost ended without a deal.

The firm had been wooing Judi Turner, head of Turner & Co., a Nashville-based publicity company.

Turner, well known in music circles for her work with both artists and companies, had been dealmaking with the firm since early November. But sources said negotiations recently broke off following a round of counteroffers.

This latest rejection does not bode well for the high-profile firm, which has been trying to establish a Music City office for the past year and had hoped to open its doors by Jan. 1. The agency has approached several candidates, all of whom rejected offers from R&C execs.

“They’ve talked to almost everyone in town,” said Cathy Gurley, a top Nashville-based publicist who was offered the R&C gig before taking a PR post at Liberty Records. Veteran publicists Nancy Russell, who now heads Shock Ink., and Arista Records media maven Rhonda Forlaw, were also pursued.

“I have nothing to say about it,” said Elliot Sekular, Rogers & Cowan VP who is spearheading the search for a Nashville exec to represent the firm’s interests along Music Row. Sekular would not disclose whether the firm has lined up other candidates.

In the ’70s, the R&C Nashville office was run by Mae Boren Axton, mother of country artist Hoyt Axton and a co-writer of Elvis Presley’s hit “Heartbreak Hotel.”

The office closed just before the urban-cowboy craze hit, with execs in its Los Angeles and New York offices taking over its country music accounts.

R&C’s country roster boasts Billy Ray Cyrus, Dolly Parton, Clint Black and Kenny Rogers.

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