So we now have an official country radio station in the Big Apple. They've been on the air for a week now and are sounding very much like a brand new radio station. Lots of country music, lots of jingles, lots of liners announcing their arrival, but, so far, no disc jockeys. However, it is now common knowledge that Cumulus is indeed looking for air personalities who "live the country life style" and a new country-dedicated program director. So just what can we expect in the way of new on-air personalities?
Well, I took a look at the Cumulus-owned country radio stations around the country and thought I would share with you what I found. But, first, a little background.
For those of you who may not know, there are several nationally-syndicated country radio shows. I will list those shows here now. First and foremost and probably the best-known is "After Midnight" with Blair Garner. It is an all-night show. It's Web site is here: http://www.aftermidnite.com/main.html
There are three syndicated country morning radio shows: "Big D & Bubba" http://www.bigdandbubba.com/main.html , "Tony & Kris" http://www.tonyandkris.com/ and "Moby In the Morning" http://www.mobyinthemorning.com/
There is one mid-day syndicated country radio show: :Mid-days with Andy" http://icountryradio.com/on-air/mid-day-request-show/
There are three night-time syndicated country radio shows: "Big Time with WhitneyAllen" http://www.thebigtimeonline.com/ , "The Lia Show" http://www.radiolia.com/ , and "CMT Radio LIve with Cody Allen" http://www.cmtradiolive.com/
There are two other all-night syndicated radio shows in addition to After Midnight. "Taste of County Nights" http://tasteofcountry.com/nights/ and "Kickin' it All Night with Kix" http://www.kixbrooksradio.com/
Now here's what I found when I looked at the Cumulus country radio stations around the country. Absolutely none, not one, has live deejays 24 hours a day. In fact, all of the stations that I looked at, almost all had live deejays 5 AM to 7 PM. They then proceded to run Cody Allen from 7 to midnight and Kix Brooks from midnight to 5 AM. There were two Cumulus stations that ran the Tony & Kris morning show and one station that ran Whitney Allen instead of Cody Allen. There were several that were either automated or voice-tracked from 7 PM to 5 AM and there were a few that ran the Cumulus 24/7 "Real Country" format.
And while Cumulus is telling us that "Nash FM" is about to become a national branding of its radio stations, all of their country stations already have brands of their own. Some of these included: Big Country, The Bear, Kat or Cat Country, The Wolf, The Hit Kicker, Today's Best Country, The Hawk, Continuous Country Favorites, the Coyote, and on and on. What happens to all of these brands now? Do they stay, or does everyone become "Nash FM?"
In the town where country music originated, Nashville, Tn. Cumulus has WKDF 103.3 Today’s Country. They are live from 5 AM to 12 Mid every day. Running Kix Brooks in the overnights. WSIX FM is your country leader ratings-wise with a 4.9, and WKDF is right behind them with a 4.7. WSM FM (also owned by Cumulus) pulls a 4.0.WSM FM runs Cody Allen 7 to Midnight. They are probably automated 12 Mid-5 AM.
So what do I think we can expect here in New York. Well, we'll probably get the same thing that most of the other Cumulus stations have. Live deejays 5 AM to 7 PM. And we'll probably have Cody Allen from 7 PM to Midnight and Kix Brooks doing the overnight. And as for those live deejays, do not be looking for anyone who may have done country radio here in the past. Cumulus has a huge stable of country disc jockeys all around the country. Believe me, they'll probably be able to find three to come work in New York. As for weekends, we may get one or two live deejays to work the weekends. You can probably also look for the new Nash FM to run Kix Brooks' "American Country Countdown on the weekends as well. Will there be a classic country music show on Nash FM. Let me answer that question by asking this one, "how old are the songs played by Z-100 or 92.3 Now?" Have I made my point?
Yes, New York has a new country station. But this is the 21st century. WHN and WYNY are things of the long since forgotten past. If you like today's country music, then you'll probably love this new station. And they'll probably do well in the ratings. If you're expecting what you remember as country radio, well you'll either learn to like this one or abandon it altogether. Only time will tell.
Oh, and one more thing, when you listen to Nash FM live on-line, you get a listing of the name of the songs and the artists that are currently playing. NIce for those of us trying to catch up.