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Mid Week Format Breakdown, this week spotlighting Country. Astonishingly, success came to a genre that fits a very rural southern stereotype. in the biggest city in America. In mid January, Cumulus Media launched Nash Fm 94.7 due to the success of countries many acts on various award shows, and with artists like Keith Urban and Blake Shelton being a part of karaoke talent competition television shows, now is certainly the time to invest in the format. Late last year, radio blogger and fellow loyal contact Lance Venta reported at radioinsight.com that Cumulus had registered domains for Nash Fm on every frequency, planning to launch a national country brand. As you can imagine, this sent many jocks into a frenzy because Cumulus proved its attempts to nationalize their top 40/pop stations with the Morning Bert Show, Rick Dees, and my good friend Adam Bomb who is a part of Perez nights live with celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton. However the plan is to still have focus on the local with this national country brand. I think it is a good thing to find the balancing act between national and local content. allaccess.com did an interview last week with newly appointed Cumulus New York Market Manager Kim Bryant, who said she wasn't surprised by Nash fm's quick success in new York. She claims that country is a lifestyle, and it is the new adult contemporary format. I do think this is a fare assessment since you can draw certain parallels between those audience. segments, Though I think the country demographic is the broadest audience there is. Many of these stations claim heavy female listening, but I also know of many males who enjoy the format. It's truly interesting to me, how a format that thrives on southern stereotype attracts a lot of people, but i could say the same for pop music's flashy club nature. That topic will be addressed in my next mid week format breakdown, but for now let's stick to the hey y'all country music. Now on the surface, it probably seems like I'm antagonizing the format, but I actually really enjoy the new crop of music from a marketing standpoint. I think it is because it is simple, but unlike pop music, there is a stronger moral focus, but it still maineains edgy content. Cumulus has been slow to unroll their nash initiative, now launching 5 more stations around the country. Right now I ask, where's the content. If you read my blog yesterday, you'll remember my statement that being the number 1 best radio station as a slogan is counter intuitive. So when I hear Nash fm New York say they're "the world's biggest country station" or "america's country station" I often cringe feeling very uncomfortable. Show, don't tell. The product line, magazines, and national aggregator platform should have been developed before launching the Nash Fm brand. While I'm empathetic to slowly building a brand, I also believe in the saying, "don't put the cart before the horse." On the other hand, using words like hometown, and live and local are intuitive. The country audience, despite the format being centralized in Nashville, are very hip to being a part of their local communities. With that said, they want to know exactly what is going on nationally with all the country stars they love listening too. Country isn't my favorite radio format, but it's my favorite kind of radio programming. Mostly because the audience has been loyal to radio, and personality. The country listeners are a community, and I think despite the ford trucks, back woods, farm girls emphasis that tends to be most of country's lyrics, what stands out is the sense of community. If done right, a personality on country radio could be near as important as the artist. They are just important in a different way. The country audience appreciates the day to day personality because it reflects what's currently going on, but the music ultimately reflects their lives, something they want or wish for, or something they believe in. Country is a family friendly format, so it's only natural that every element of the station should engage people like a family. It's as simple as this. Your favorite Uncle may live in Nashville, and if you have a close relationship with him, then you like to know what's going on with him, but that is secondary even if he is a primary part of your life. The primary focus is the family you currently have in your own home town. I'll close this edition of midweek Format Breakdown by saying this quote from Charlie Mitchell from Pittsburgh's y108. "Pittsburgh is a big fan of the penguins hockey team. It's all about time and place for content. If the penguins are playing, then it is irrelevant to post content about the artists because people at that time are generally not going to care. It will get lost in the shuffle." Eventually this Wednesday section will have interviews with radio programmers and djs to get their perspectives as well. I just want to get into the routine of posting before I develop segment initiatives. Thank you all for the response this week, it has taken off way more then I thought it would and I appreciate that you've become a fan of this upstart. I'll eventually fix the title thing, I'm a blind writer, and the accessibility issues with certain edit boxes are current problems, but thanks for supporting anyway. BC.
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