Hold the presses. This whole Nash Icon / country music format split business just got a hell of a lot more serious and interesting. On Monday (10-6), the ratings for radio stations were released for Nashville and other locations, and within those numbers was a bombshell for the country music radio world. In Nashville, the NASH Icon affiliate beat the biggest pop country station.
On Wednesday morning (9-3) the nominations for the 2014 CMA Awards were unveiled, including the nominees for the CMA’s National Broadcast Media Personality, of which apparently Bobby Bones though he was a shoe-in for. And when his name didn’t show up on the ballot, he took to Twitter to bitch like the spoiled, self-entitled, self-centered prick he is.
Ever since the partnership between radio owner Cumulus Media and the Big Machine Label Group called NASH Icon was proposed, the big question has been if it will it result in the country music radio format splitting in two. It is time for country to fragment,” John Dickey said plainly on the conference call, while offering more detailed insight than ever into exactly what NASH Icon will look like.
Big Machine Records, Blake Shelton, Clear Channel, Cumulus Media, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, George Strait, John Dickey, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, NASH, NASH Icon, Randy Travis, Willie Nelson
One of the fundamental issues causing the rapid decline in country music has been the massive consolidation in the ownership of country music’s radio stations and other media outlets. As huge companies like Clear Channel & Cumulus lay off local workers to instill nationalized programming, country music becomes homogenized through matching playlists that lock out local and regional flavor.
When the news broke last week that there would be yet another new country music awards show squeezing its way into the already-crowded TV event space, it stimulated a collective rolling of the eyes from many over-saturated music fans and industry types. Really, how many of these things do we need? Buried in the details however was the insight that the Awards wasn’t just the latest ploy….
If Cumulus Media and its CEO Lew Dickey have their way, in the coming years that big ‘N’ will be one of the most recognized brands in North America, especially if you’re a country music fan. The plans that Lew Dickey has for that big brown ‘N’ are ambitious to say the least, and look to permeate just about every segment of the consumer culture of the United States.
Alan Jackson, Big Machine Records, Bobby Bones, Clear Channel, Cumulus, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Jerry Del Colliano, Lew Dickey, NASH, Nash Icons, Rush Limbaugh, Scott Borchetta, Sean Hannity, Shania Twain
Envision a day where all the current Top 40 country that classic country fans are incensed over is segregated into its own autonomous format, with its own radio stations, and potentially even its own awards, special events and festivals. And the same could happen for classic country. It could have it’s own place to not forget the past, and respect the roots of the genre.
Announced late Tuesday, NASH Icons, a takeoff on Cumulus’ already-established nationally-syndicated NASH brand, is a partnership with the Big Machine Label Group for the purpose of taking old and new music from artists “of the past 25 years” and giving its own place to live. Though no specific artists to be featured have been detailed yet, the idea seems to encompass music….
How in the world did we get to this place in country music where a pop DJ who hasn’t even been in the format but for a year feels like artists have an obligation to not only acknowledge his presence, but pander to his adolescent and self-centered insecurities, and furthermore, that said DJ would use those personal insecurities publicly as fodder for his bullshit syndicated wacky morning radio show?
Though country has been lucrative for the radio business in some respects, and this is the reason media is betting big on country for its future, it may be too little, too late, as debt mounts, credit ratings get slashed, and radio faces increasing competition from new technologies. And then there is the radio industry’s biggest problem: Conservative talk radio.
2014 is turning out to be the year of the celebrity crotch sniffer in country music. The word is out that country is fertile ground for advertisers and is a fast-rising subject in popular culture, so interlopers and carpetbaggers are rolling out the red carpet for country all over the place, and it’s getting quite stupid. People Magazine has just launched their own dedicated country music website.
the simple fact remains, radio is still the most widely used format for music listeners, confirmed by a new study by Edison Research. And even more importantly, radio is where listeners go to discover new music. 75% of listeners use radio to keep up-to-date with music, while only 20% use SiriusXM, and only 18% use Spotify. Radio’s days might be numbered, but right now, it still rules the roost.
In typical Austin fashion, the festival and live feed started 12 minutes late. Though iHeartRadio was touting the experience as a “festival”, the outdoor, multi-day and multi-stage discovery of new music that usually accompanies the music festival experience was swapped for a very structured environment centered around the most familiar names in the format…
Austin, Bobby Bones, Cadillac Three, Carrie Underwood, Clear Channel, Cruise, Dan + Shay, Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Green Day, Hunter Hayes, iHeartRadio, iHeartRadio Country Festival, Jake Owen, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Review, Taylor Swift, Tyler Hubbard
All the fears, all the warnings sounded by concerned music fans and observers of media by the passing of the Telecommunications Act in 1996 and the revisions in 2003 that heavily laxed the laws regulating radio station ownership in America, and when Billboard changed their chart rules in 2012 to boost crossover songs, have now come to fruition.
This year at the Country Radio Seminar, Larry Rosin of Edison Research was once again sounding the warning bells about the viability of country music on the radio moving forward in the face of rapid consolidation, the evaporation of local and live programming, and the emergence of new technologies and services competing with radio like Spotify and smart phones.
Cumulus Media is #2 on the radio ownership totem pole, and to attempt to hopscotch their rival Clear Channel, they are planning massive expenditures, acquisitions, and ventures to push the recognition of their big country music brand: “NASH”. To say their plans are expansive is an understatement, and it includes numerous consumer products, including paint, clothing, and furniture.
This week in Nashville is the annual CRS or Country Radio Seminar where executives and personalities in country radio gather with executives and artists in the country music industry to hobnob, network, and attend workshops and presentations about the direction and future of radio and country music. This year the backdrop of CRS most certainly will be the Country Music Media Arms Race…
As the centerpiece to Clear Channel’s plans for a nationally-syndicated country music radio network, Bobby Bones and his sideways hat have become the scourge of the country music airwaves. No better example than the news that last week four billboards at $2,150 a pop appeared around Nashville offering the simple message “Go Away Bobby Bones.”
Powerful Clear Channel country music DJ Bobby Bones might be calling it quits according to a letter he posted to his listeners and fans on Twitter Thursday evening (1-30). The morning show DJ for WSIX in Nashville that is the flagship of Clear Channel’s country music syndicated network started on the job after being moved from a Clear Channel pop station in Austin.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, just like the great American eagle and the mighty Soviet bear staring each other down and belligerently stockpiling armaments to intimidate one another, the two titans of American radio, Clear Channel and Cumulus Media, have entered a no-holds-barred arms race with country music as the platform, with the ultimate prize being you…