Cumulus Media officially launched their “NASH Icon” brand to radio on Friday (8-15), changing two Georgia radio stations over to the new format that favors country music released from a 25-year “classic” period. Atlanta’s Oldies 98.9 W255CJ has changed over to NASH Icon 98.9, and Sports Radio 102.1 in Savannah will now be known as NASH Icon 102.1. According to Radio Insight, these are just two of the twelve total radio stations that are scheduled at the moment to take on the new NASH Icon brand (originally spelled plurally as “Icons”), including Nashville’s 95.5 WSM—the once FM companion station to AM’s 650 WSM. 650 WSM is country music’s most legendary station, and the home of the Grand Ole Opry.
Of the twelve radio stations looking to change over to the new format, only two of them are country stations—95.5 WSM in Nashville, and 92.5 KJJY in Des Moines. Three are classic or oldies stations mostly catering to older rock & roll, three are sports stations, three are contemporary hit radio stations, and one is news/talk.
The current flip list includes:
- 95.5 WSM Nashville (Country)
- 92.5 KJJY Des Moines (Country)
- 93.7 WJBC Pontiac / Bloomington, IL (News/Talk)
- 96.3 KBZU Albuquerque (Classic Rock)
- 98.9 W255CJ Atlanta (Classic Hits)
- 106.3 KRRF Oxnard, CA (Classic Hits)
- 97.9 KQLK Lake Charles, LA (CHR)
- 99.5 WZRR Birmingham, AL (CHR)
- 102.1 WNUQ Albany, GA (CHR)
- 100.7 KLSZ Fort Smith, AR
- 102.1 WZAT Savannah, GA
- 102.5 K273BZ Kansas City
NASH Icon was first announced in May as a joint venture between Cumulus Media and Big Machine Records. As mainstream country music radio has abandoned most of country music’s older artists, the idea with NASH Icon is to give a home to artists who still have large audiences, but no home on the radio dial. Meanwhile the NASH Icon record label is looking to sign artists from the 25-year window, and also wants to be involved heavily in merchandising and touring. The announcement of NASH Icon has many people in radio talking about a format split in country with contemporary country and “classic” country going their separate ways.
During a conference call last week, Cumulus chairman Lew Dickey said about NASH Icon, “We expect to announce a slate of signed artists before the holidays, and we’ll be working with our artists to monetize their work through recorded music, touring, merchandise and other related ventures. Following a start-up period in 2014, NASH ICON is expected to be profitable beginning next year.”
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