Congratulations to record promoter Johnny Mitchell, whose family just got a little larger with the addition of great granddaughter Alayna Grace Clouse. The newborn is Mitchell’s sixth great grandchild, born to Daniel Spann and Brandy Clouse. Mother and baby are both well.
Don Wilson, PD of Thunderbolt Broadcasting’s WYVY/Union City, TN is exiting the station at the end of this week to accept a ministry position in Orange Park, FL. Station manager Jason Aldridge will serve as interim PD until his replacement is named.
ON THE CHART
Kudos to Toby Keith and Show Dog-Universal’s promotion team for giving their superstar boss a second week at No. 1 on the CountryBreakout Chart with “Made In America.” Keith Urban’s “Long Hot Summer” jumps 4-2, moving ahead of still gaining duets “You and Tequila” (Kenny Chesney/Grace Potter) and “Remind Me” (Brad Paisley/Carrie Underwood) as well as Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”
Frozen Playlists: KMKS, KZZY, WBKR, WBYZ, WCMS, WOOZ, WTCR
One hot discussion topic recently has been the prevalence of rural/outlaw/redneck themes in country music, and there’s no shortage of opinions on the matter [Full disclosure: I provided my own opinion on this site a couple weeks ago]. Truthfully, it hardly seems to matter what a jaded critic says when you’ve got chart bullets galore and your record is knocking on the door of No. 1 glory.
Which makes me wonder how the folks in small market radio feel about it all, since it is ostensibly this very type of place inspiring the writers to pen these songs. Many PDs and MDs seem to agree that there’s a certain pride among small town dwellers, echoed in songs like Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” and Rodney Atkins’ “Take A Back Road.”
“Small towns, backroads, rivers and fishin’ is what we are and who our listeners are,” muses Dave Tyler of WTRS/Ocala, FL. “With that said I personally find it a little fatiguing to hear another ‘Where I came from’ or or ‘my town is so small’ song but they seem to climb the charts and get requests.”
“We appreciate them since we’re in that type of surrounding,” adds George Henry of WDXX in Selma, AL. “Our audience very much relates to it. People who live in the city only wish that their lives were that simple. I hope Nashville keeps them coming. Country music still needs to reflect the country lifestyle. Otherwise, it ain’t nothing but contemporary pop.”
“The recent influx of ‘outlaw’ or ‘rebel’ songs is proving successful because they are in line with the thinking of our listeners,” agrees Mike Thomas of KFAV/Warrenton, MO. “In light of the economy, world and national events, many people have a ‘mad as hell, not gonna take it anymore’ attitude and I think the country genre has tapped into that.”
Listeners are a key part of the picture, and their active engagement with the stations has helped the rise to popularize some of the new crop.
“Leah Seawright’s last single [“On The Backroads”] was top 10 phones for us and Rodney Atkins current single [“Take A Back Road”] is also Top 10 phones,” says Ted Cramer of WIFE/Connersville, IN. “My market knows it is a rural area just outside a metro and is proud of the country lifestyle maintained here.”
To borrow Dave Tyler’s expression above, there does however seem to be a little fatigue–or at least the threat of it–with the trend.
“Like most good ideas, too much of a good thing can lead to overkill,” cautions Mike Thomas.
“It seems like once a theme gets accepted by one or two good records, everyone jumps on the bandwagon and then we have several (tons) of records from un-noticed artists that come, take up our time, and go,” says Susie Martin of WATZ/Alpena, MI. “Just because that seems to be the theme at the time. It’s the same thing we get around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July and they are starting to come in for 9/11.”
Bandwagon or not, the rise in popularity of more rural and outlaw-themed material could indicate a major shift in listener demographics. Which, some say, is quite a good thing for the longevity of country radio.
“These songs are bringing a younger audience to Country Radio,” says Ken Scott of WJVL/Janesville, WI. “This music has an attitude and this audience relates well to it! It’s simply art imitating life. These young people are, for the most part, struggling middle class workers. Many are content with their existence, working hard at a not so glamorous job, spending time with family and friends, and looking forward to the weekend. This is their reality and they’re okay with that. All these songs are little anthems for a simple, good life, that is truly American. There’s an audience turnover in progress. We still have our baby boomers and generation X, but it’s time to program for this new audience, the Millennials, because they’re our future and they’re diggin’ us!“
Chris Cagle/Got My Country On/Bigger Picture
Risa Binder/You Made It Rain/Turnpike
Vince Gill/Threaten Me With Heaven/MCA
Jason Aldean/Tattoos On This Town/Broken Bow
Kevin Fowler/That Girl/Average Joes
Ashley Gearing/Me, My Heart and I/Curb
Crystal Shawanda/Love Enough/Sun/Nine North
• • • • •
New On The Chart—Debuting This Week
Artist/song/label — chart pos.
Jason Aldean/Tattoos On This Town/Broken Bow — 72
LiveWire/Tater Fed/LiveWire Records — 76
Buddy Jewell/Jesus, Elvis and Me/Diamond Dust — 77
Steve Richard/Love’s Gotta Go Somewhere/Force MP — 78
Pistol Annies/Hell On Heels/Columbia — 79
Bomshel/Halleluy’all/Curb — 80
Greatest Spin Increase
Artist/song/label — spin+
Lady Antebellum/We Owned The Night/Capitol — 557
Miranda Lambert/Baggage Claim/Columbia — 516
Eric Church/Drink In My Hand/EMI Nashville — 511
Blake Shelton/God Gave Me You/Warner Bros./WMN — 370
The Band Perry/All Your Life/Republic Nashville — 335
Artist/song/label — New Adds
Lady Antebellum/We Owned The Night/Capitol — 35
Eric Church/Drink In My Hand/EMI Nashville — 30
Jason Aldean/Tattoos On This Town/Broken Bow — 26
Reba/Somebody’s Chelsea/Starstruck/Valory — 14
Steel Magnolia/Bulletproof/Big Machine — 14
Chris Young/You/RCA Nashville — 13
The Band Perry/All Your Life/Republic Nashville — 12
Hunter Hayes/Storm Warning/Atlantic/WMN — 11
Miranda Lambert/Baggage Claim/Columbia — 10
On Deck—Soon To Be Charting
Artist/song/label — spins
Jason Sturgeon/The Cover/Toolpusher/Spinville — 194
Coleman Brothers/Beer-Thirty/PVI — 185
The O’Donnells/She Leaves The Light On/Song Valley Music — 173
Ira Dean/Beer or Gasoline/Average Joes Entertainment — 173
Brett Eldredge/It Ain’t Gotta Be Love/Atlantic/WMN — 166