Cumulus Media’s NASH concept wants to become the one stop shop for corporate country consumers, and the country industry is more than willing to play ball as long as the company spreads its capital around to launch grandiose ventures and continues to play its artists on the radio. But there’s a problem. A big one.
Artists, labels, and PR firms being able to speak directly to consumers more than ever through the vehicle of social media arguably doesn’t make music media obsolete, it makes it more necessary than ever to help listeners navigate through a crowded marketplace, and make sure they’re not being misled by an industry trying to deal with their own revenue and contraction issue in the digital age.
Announced last week, the owned-by-the-public British institution the BBC is putting together their own streaming music format, called the “New Music Discovery Service.” It will include over 50,000 tracks that have been broadcast on the BBC in recent months, customized playlists to help listeners navigate the crush of new music and discover something they may enjoy.
Didn’t put forth the effort to watch “CMA Fest: Country’s Night to Rock” Tuesday night (8-4), with performances from Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Brett Eldridge, and hosted by Little Big Town? Well apparently you’re not alone. But a ratings decline for the ABC broadcast is not all country should be worried about.
Country Radio Consultant: “If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out.” (aka SaladGate)
In an interview posted with Keith Hill on Tuesday (5-26) in Country Aircheck, the industry consultant not only advised country radio not to play female artists, and certainly not to play them back to back, but had the audacity to compare them to the “tomatoes” of the country music salad. “If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out,” Keith Hill said point blank in the interview.
Today, the FCC has fined Bobby Bones’ parent company iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel) $1 million for the inappropriate and unauthorized use of the EAS tones. The company has admitted its culpability and has also agreed to institute a three-year compliance and reporting plan and eliminate EAS tones from its production libraries.
The fight for country radio to actually represent the people it is supposed to serve is an eternal one, and nothing illustrates this more than a recently-unearthed interview with George Jones taped backstage at the Grand Ole Opry dating back to February 21st, 1998. Think about it: This was 17 years ago, but every point George Jones makes is a poignant one, and one that is still patently relevant today.
Cumulus Media’s VP Admits Country Can’t Be Delineated from Pop — Wants to Bring Taylor Swift Back to Country
“You don’t know these artists. You’re just listening to just a few hooks of their songs,” John Dickey says. “You tell me what they are. Florida Georgia Line â€“ country, rock or pop? We can do Brantley Gilbert, Eric Church or Sam Hunt. You’re telling me Sam Hunt’s song is country? Today Country is successful because it’s co-oping other audiences into the format.
Things are going from bad to worse in country music radio rankings, and now were starting see the lengths country radio is willing to go to in an attempt to rekindle the magic. Just six short months ago it looked like popular country music was poised to take over the music world and take down pop as the most dominant genre. Now the ratings for country radio’s key demographic continues its precipitous slide.
You know, I didn’t want to broach this subject, because even arguing whether there’s a problem with country radio is such a reduction to the systemic and and bigoted way the institution is run, and it’s better to focus on solutions to these problems, like splitting the country format so conflicts like the ones I’m about to explain are less likely to happen.
Where is talk of the format split on the agenda at CRS? You would think it would be dominating the proceedings. I mean, we’re talking about what would be the largest overhaul of country radio in its existence. But is it even being discussed, or are people more focused on the big Garth Brooks party as he tries to retool after his retirement and make up for now two failed radio singles.
While nobody was paying attention, the Dickey Brothers of Cumulus Media added yet another tentacle to their increasingly tentacle-rich country music venture known as NASH. NASH TV boasts videos and programs from some of NASH radio’s biggest shows. Then you can get extremely niche-like with shows such as “Picks From The Sticks” and “HickXtreme.” Cue the incidental comedy.
NASH Icon is ramping up for a big 2015, making some significant moves on Monday (1-12) to start the year where 2014 ended: stirring conversation about where country music is headed and potentially stimulating a format split that would see more older country music return to the airwaves en masse. The long rumored signing of Ronnie Dunn to the label has been officially announced.
Scott Borchetta’s gamble has paid off, and “Girl In A Country Song” is now #1 on country radio according to Mediabase. The distinction shatters a slew of dubious distinctions for the country format, and helps to slay the absolute dearth of female representation on country radio. It means that country radio has its very first female-led act to hit number one on country radio in over 2 years.
The Americana Music Association has just unveiled their list for the most played albums in 2014, and there’s quite a few surprises, and quite a few names traditionally considered country filling out the ranks. Though 2014 still has another month to go, the end of November traditionally marks the end of the radio calendar in music, allowing us to look back and see who had the greatest impact on the format.
Americana, Americana Music Association, Billy Joe Shaver, Dolly Parton, Jim Lauderdale, Johnny Cash, Lake Street Dive, Marty Stuart, NIckel Creek, Nikki Lane, Ray Benson, Rosanne Cash, Shovels & Rope, Sturgill Simpson
NASH Icon once again is #1 in Nashville. But how is NASH Icon faring outside of Nashville? Sure, Music City is an important battleground as the ‘Home of Country Music’ and the home market for iHeartMedia’s rival flagship country station. But for the country format to formally split, it’s going to take much more action across the country in major markets.
Cumulus Media’s NASH Icon radio concept mixing older country music in with more contemporary songs continues to gain steam, while yet another radio format called NASH Classics is on its way, and some big signings to the label side of NASH Icon appear to be imminent. John Dickey gave the first indication that the media giant could be giving classic country music a bigger home on the radio.
The pieces are beginning to fall together after a troubling incident Friday morning (10-24) where thousands of subscribers to AT&T’s U-Verse television service had their TV’s locked down by the national “EAS” emergency system. The system was triggered by a tone that emanated from radio station 97.9 WSIX in Nashville during The Bobby Bones Show.
Confusion and even panic gripped numerous television viewers in Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Michigan this morning (10-24) when they received an “Emergency Action Notification” from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, warning viewers to wait for further information from The White House on an active emergency. And apparently The Bobby Bones Show was behind the mishap.
The signs continue to point towards the country music radio format officially splitting in two, with Top 40 country, and “Icon” country covering music from as far back as the 80’s vying for equal share of the country music listenership. Now another local radio station has switched to the new country format, and the verbiage accompanying the format change shows just how much sway NASH Icon is having.
“Tim Pop” Herveyï»¿ was a tower of a man who was the perfect example of selflessly taking of ones own time to take up the charge of serving worthy music to the public that would otherwise go unheard and under-appreciated. He never did it to be cool in a scene. Whenever he heard something that he believed was magical, his very first desire was to share it, so everyone else could take part in that magic too.
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.
“What will NASH Icon be, and will it make a significant improvement to country radio?” This has been the question on the mind of many country music fans ever since NASH Icon was announced. Now that there are actually radio stations broadcasting the new NASH Icon format, we can listen in and hear just exactly what NASH Icon is.
Alabama, Alan Jackson, Big Machine Records, Chase Rice, Cole Swindell, Cumulus Media, Diamond Rio, Dierks Bentley, Doug Stone, Dwight Yoakam, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, John Dickey, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Mark Chesnutt, Merle Haggard, NASH, NASH Icon, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, playlist, Ricochet, Sturgill Simpson, Tracy Byrd, Vince Gill
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