The reach of Clear Channel radio’s country music flagship personality was extended again this week when it was announced Bobby Bones will make his entrance into yet another major American market, shoving more local morning talent aside in favor of syndicated national radio. Clear Channel station WMZQ in Washington D.C. will now feature Bobby Bones in the mornings, bringing the amount of radio stations broadcasting his show to 60, and the estimated count of potential listeners of The Bobby Bones Show to 60 million.
Bobby Bones replaces local personality “Boxer” whose local radio show ran on WMZQ in the mornings and was beloved by many local radio listeners, not just for his on-air personality, but through his work with his non-profit, Boxer’s Kids. The Boxer show will be moved to the less-desirable midday slot. “Boxer…I’ve been listening for almost 3yrs and you are an awesome morning person…I will miss you and will not be listening to syndicates…” posted one Boxer fan on the show’s Facebook page. Another fan posted, “Just heard Boxer is moving, he and Ally wake me up and get me through my morning commute.”
The replacement of Boxer by Bobby Bones is a narrative playing out all across the United States as the two major radio station owners of Clear Channel and Cumulus implement more nationalized programming and reduce the local color of the radio waves in the midst of a media arms race heating up in country music.
Late last month at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, a research study conducted by Edison Research found that “Country radio radio is in the fight of its life,” and that voicetracked, or non-live and non-local shows as part of radio consolidation are “essentially a disaster for the radio industry” according to Edison Research’s Larry Rosin. “It’s never been more important to play up live and local,” Edison Research’s Jane Charneski also said as part of the seminar, yet Clear Channel’s implementation of syndicated programming continues stronger than ever. Clear Channel lost $309 million in the last quarter, compared to a $191 million loss in the same quarter the year before.