Radio Remembers Preston
Preston served as CEO of BMI from 1986-2004. She worked at BMI for 6 decades. She was hired in 1958 to open a Southern regional office for BMI in Nashville and appointed Vice President in 1964. In 1985, she rose to Senior Vice President, Performing Rights and was be named President and CEO the following year. Preston was 83 years old.
From legendary Country singer Charlie Daniels. "What Frances Preston meant to the creative infrastructure of Music City cannot be overstated. She was the songwriter's friend and a leader in every sense of the word. We're not apt to see her equal. Rest in peace old friend."
Former NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts commented, "Frances Preston was one of America's great business leaders and a truly outstanding woman. Her dedication to perfection was exemplified in every association she touched. She led BMI to great success and did so with a majestic touch. She will be sorely missed."
From RAB President and CEO Erica Farber, "Frances was one of the few women executives in the music industry who not only worked her way to the top but went out on top. She was a role model without even knowing it. When Frances was in the room you always knew it. With dignity, grace and that distinctive "butter" voice of hers she was a leader not only in the board room but to her associates and the songwriters she so passionately supported. It always appeared that she effortlessly balanced her work with her family and the many philanthropic efforts she supported. When I think of Frances I think of the word "dame" and to me she was the epitome of one of the best! "
Former Susquehanna Radio Chairman David Kennedy. "Your first impression was that smile, the one that would light up any room. And then you quickly saw the intelligence, experience and integrity she brought, combined with a genuine human touch that made all the difference. In this way, Frances set a tone that enabled BMI to walk the fine line between broadcasters and composers/publishers with respect and fairness for each."
NRG CEO Mary Quass. "There are few who have given as much and worked as tirelessly as Fran Preston for the broadcast industry . She will be missed. To have the desire to serve and the courage to take on tough issues for as long as she did in an ever evolving industry is truly remarkable. We can all learn great lessons from her legacy."
Cromwell Group President Bud Walters. "We have all known Francis as a wonderful leader of BMI and the music industry. In my home town of Nashville she has been a philanthropist and recognized by everyone as a wonderful citizen and human being."
NAB Joint Board Chairman Paul Karpowicz said, "Frances Preston was a great friend to the broadcast community during her nearly two decades as president and CEO of BMI. She was a person of substance, grace and humanity, and her unwavering support for songwriters will be her legacy. We join our music industry friends in mourning the loss of this truly one-of-a-kind woman."
MIW Spokesperson Heidi Raphael. "Frances Preston was a true visionary and trailblazer in the industry. As an early founding member of the MIWs, she walked the talk and served as a shining example of what a woman could do if she chose to. Frances both set and continued to raise the bar for all of us. She will be missed but never forgotten."
Gordon Hastings. "Frances Preston established a standard for graciousness and style. Let there be no doubt, however, the foundation of her incredible record of accomplishment was a brilliant mind with incomparable intuition regarding talent, colleagues and business. Frances broke through the glass ceiling before the term had been coined. Within the music and broadcasting communities, few men or women enjoyed the universal respect and admiration afforded her. Frances Preston’s great accomplishment in building a prosperous partnership between the music and broadcasting industry was brought about by her ability to identify and encourage the best in people. With abundant demonstrations of generosity and goodwill, Frances was a diplomat with an inner sense of the common ingredients necessary to form positive, permanent and mutually rewarding relationships. Trust, confidence and honor were the fundamentals in her creating, what continues to this day, the greatest roster of music, singer songwriters and talent extant! Frances often said, “It all begins with a song.” We can only imagine the mentoring Frances afforded the BMI stable of talent through the years. She remained loyal through all seasons. Frances Preston’s imprimatur upon the music industry is firmly established in history. Her lasting impact on the lives of countless individuals is beyond measure. Her example will transcend generations."