Radio station and on-air personalities also earn ACM Awards nominations, and Taste of Country Nights host Sam Alex is among a group up for the National On-Air Personality of the Year award. It's Alex's first nomination in the category, and he says being included is an honor.

ToC Nights joins America's Morning Show, CMT After Midnite with Cody Alan, Country Countdown USA with Lon Helton, the Crook and Chase Countdown, the Bobby Bones Show and Big Time With Whitney Allen as nominees in the category. On air he's joined by Producer Amber, Taste of Country's Billy Dukes and a long list of special guests, plus top-flight country artists.

It's the work Alex puts in off air that earned him the nomination, he says. Weekly call-ins to syndicated station morning shows allow him to not only promote his show, but to learn what's happening in local markets. ToC Nights broadcasts from Nashville, but these phone calls — plus regular market visits — keep him plugged in and sounding local.

"Being at showcases, like I hosted the WYRK acoustic show recently, things like that, going and actually meeting listeners face to face ... that's just the best," he says.

It's important Alex to be on air, online and onsite. His interviews are instantly featured on Taste of Country, often with an audio embed for fans to catch what they missed. Having the nations largest country music news website at his disposal keeps him plugged into what's happening in Nashville, so Alex finds ways to stretch the box radio personalities are often asked to work in. Every artist interview ends with a Top 3 segment, and awards season presents a chance for serious and not-so-serious questions. A 2015 CMAs video in which he asks nearly 50 artists to impersonate their favorite emoji is a fan-favorite.

Listeners appreciate that how Alex acts on air mirrors the man they meet in person. "We're big fans of country music, and we live the country lifestyle," he says. "So we're just very relatable. Producer Amber and I are just regular people."

In addition to ToC Nights' nomination, three personalities from Taste of Country station KUAD-FM in Ft. Collins, Colo. were nominated in the On-Air Personality of the Year, Small Market category. Brian Gary, Todd Harding and Susan Moore are the Good Morning Guys on K99. Taste of Country Nights airs nightly on over 60 radio stations nationwide. You'll find Sam Alex and Producer Amber on the red carpet at awards shows. Last year they hosted ToC's red carpet stream, snagging interviews with Garth Brooks, Steve Martin and more.

See the Top Nominees for the 2016 ACM Awards

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