Season 4 – Episode 2: Pam Lewis – The Glue That Holds It All Together

This week I’m talking with Pam Lewis of PLA Media in Nashville. PLA is a Public Relations company that gets their clients in front of audiences and consumers through public appearances on tv and in print. Pam has an amazing history of being one of the people who launched MTV in the early 80s and also helped launch the careers of Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. We are discussing the abilities you need to have to work for a PR firm as well as what it takes to start your own PR company.

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at 

In this episode we discuss:

*A publicist (Public Relations) is the glue that holds it all together.
*Helping launch MTV.
*A publicist’s job is to listen to the artist, hear your dreams and take them to the next level and make you a household name.
*Publicists do press releases, promote concerts, booking events, finding endorsements, etc.
*Publicists have to go through more levels of bureaucracy with major label artists.
*Helping launch Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood’s careers.
*Starting an independent PR company called PLA Media.

*A good publicist helps connect the dots.
*Looking for unique opportunities for clients, not the obvious ones.
*Be Tenacious.
*First thing to ask a publication is if they’re on deadline. If they are don’t bother them.
*Find common ground with whoever’s on the phone with you.
*Our job is to create a buzz.
*Rates to hire PLA Media start at $2000-2500 a month and go up from there.
*It’s best to do at least 3 months with PR to do as much as possible.
*What it takes to start your own PR company.
*Can you provide a valuable service to clients?
*You have to have boundaries.
*Learn how to work a room.
*Be a good listener.
*Learn how to talk on the phone.

Pamela Lewis, a native of upstate New York, is an entrepreneur, preservationist, philanthropist and author. A graduate of Wells College with a B.A. in Economics/Marketing and a minor in French and Communications. Lewis spent a year in Paris studying at COUP (Center of Overseas Undergraduate Program) affiliated with The Sorbonne University. In New York City, she did additional graduate course work at Fordham University, The New York School for Social Research, The Publicity Club of New York and Scarritt Bennett. Lewis is also a graduate of University of Tennessee’s Institute of Public Service Local Government Leadership Program (third level), of the Belmont University College of Business Administration’s Scarlett Leadership Institute Mini Executive MBA program, of Leadership Music, of the Citizen’s Police Academy and of the Leadership Middle Tennessee 2020 program.

From 1980 to 1984, Lewis was part of the original publicity/marketing team of WASEC (Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Company), a joint venture of Warner Communications and American Express, that launched MTV to the world. She also worked with MTV’s sister cable channels Nickelodeon, The Movie Channel, and the Arts & Entertainment Network (A&E). Lewis was relocated to Nashville from New York City to accept the position of National Media Director at RCA Records helping to shape the careers of top country stars such as Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, The Judds, and Alabama.

In 1985, Lewis opened her own PR firm, Pam Lewis and Associates (which later became PLA Media). In 1987, she formed award-winning Doyle/Lewis Management with partner Bob Doyle. The first client Lewis agreed to represent was an unknown Oklahoma crooner named Garth Brooks, who she worked with until 1994. Lewis also managed Trisha Yearwood‘s early career, landing her a record deal at MCA Records. Under Lewis’ guidance, Yearwood released her debut self-titled album in 1991, becoming the first female country musician to sell one million records off her first single “She’s In Love With The Boy.” The album went on to be certified double platinum, and Yearwood went on to win the Academy of Country Music award for Top Female Vocalist later that year. The two enjoyed a successful partnership which broke new ground in music winning all of the following: Performance Magazine’s “Country Music Managers of the Year” two consecutive years ’92 and ’93, Pollstar Award “Personal Manager of the Year ’92, Country Music Association’s “Artist Manager of the Year”, SRO Award ’01 (The first female executive to win this award), Nashville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 listing in ’95 & ’96, Who’s Who in Executives, International Society of Poets Distinguished Member, Franklin Police Department Order of Excellence ’15 & Tennessee Association of Museums Award in recognition of superlative achievement for publications PR kit. Eventually, Doyle and Lewis parted ways, and Pam turned her focus solely to PLA Media.

In 2003, Lewis made her first foray into the world of politics running for office of alderman-at-large in Franklin, Tennessee. She won a four-year term, and was the only female on the board for two years. She also served as Vice Mayor for one year, and was elected to the Franklin Planning Commission and Historic Zoning Commission. In 2016, she was voted as a one of the top Female Entrepreneur by Your Williamson Magazine, and was invited to be part of the 2017-2018 class of Leadership Franklin.
Lewis has served on or chaired multiple committees, including: The Tennessee State Museum, Tennessee First Lady Andrea Conte’s You Have The Power, BRIDGES Domestic Violence Center, Sister Cities of Franklin, Battlefield Commission, mayor-appointed Franklin Housing Commission, Nashville Historic Commission, Historic Cemetery Commission, ARC Board and the Tennessee Preservation Trust.

Her other community outreach efforts include historic preservation and green space causes, women and children’s advocacy, educational scholarships, fair housing and environmental and animal rights protection. Since its inception, the Pam Lewis Foundation has given away a million dollars to numerous charities.

She has been recognized for her business success/entrepreneurship, community outreach and preservation efforts by the Metro Nashville Historic Commission, Franklin Tennessee Heritage Foundation, African American Heritage Foundation, Tennessee State Museum and Tennessee Preservation Trust. In 2017, she produced a documentary of African American remembrances and contributions and was honored to give the commencement address at her alma mater Wells College, Aurora, New York in May 2017. She is a 2020 graduate of Leadership Middle Tennessee.