Because of a scarcity of applicants to manage Corbin’s 5,000-seat arena, city leaders are considering lowering the qualifications for the job, said the town’s City Manager this week.
According to Corbin City Manager Bill Ed Cannon, only five people have applied to be manager of the David L. Williams Southeast Kentucky Agriculture and Convention Center.
"There’s not really been much happening there," Cannon said. "I think one of the restrictions we had in there is a little tough … I think we are going to have to cut that down a little bit."
Cannon is referring to the requirement that any applicant have 10 years of experience in the venue management and entertainment industry. He said that may be reduced to just five years of experience because of the paucity of applications received.
The city voted earlier this year to end its relationship with SMG Worldwide Entertainment and Event Venue Management – a Philadelphia-based company that had been managing the Southeast Kentucky Agriculture and Exposition Center. City leaders cited an inability to book events at the facility as a reason for the move. City leaders expressed disdain for the way SMG managed the facility, including unhappiness with the number of events scheduled.
On Monday, Cannon said displeasure on the part of city officials was also furthered by a lack of advertising and promotion done by SMG for events at The Arena.
"There was very little advertising done for events up there," Cannon said. "If I’m going to sign on for somebody to have a concert I’m going to have it in there they are going to have to spend X number of dollars on advertising to get the word out about it. If you open a big arena and get a good event up there but it gets no advertising and doesn’t bring people in, then that gives The Arena a bad name. We don’t want that."
Officials were also upset with what they considered lavish spending on SMG’s part as well.
Cannon said the city is in the process of getting Ticketmaster information that shows where tickets for events are being sold. Armed with that information, he said the next manager could better target advertising dollars.
The city is currently retaining Connie Hunt, former long-time CEO and General Manager of Renfro Valley Entertainment, to be a consultant during the hiring process. She is being paid between $30 and $35 an hour. She is not a candidate for the position of Arena Manager.
Cannon said he has consulted Hunt in recent days and plans to run advertising in two Nashville, Tenn. based publications in order to lure applicants for the job.
"I want to put my bucks where they are going to get the most bang," Cannon said. "In talking with our consultant, that’s going to be Nashville."
Applicants will be screened and interviewed by the city’s Personnel Board and a recommendation will be made to the city commission in the near future.