Steve Giuttari told FTC: "Radio stations are in the business of doing business as in Advertising Revenues, not breaking new acts or creating hit songs for Nashville.
The average age of the country radio listener is 39 years old, and the average age of the country music buyer is 25 years old, therein lies the disconnect with country radio and its audience and at times with country radio and Nashville.
As a programmer it’s very easy to get caught up in the vacuum that is Music City. As a PD you want to be first with the best new music, these days with promotional budgets slashed you look for help wherever you can get it and most times within limits, Nashville’s willing and ready. Something the really good programmers already know is that the key is not to let Nashville’s agenda interfere or supersede your own agenda with your audience. It’s happening though.
This disconnect began about 5 years ago back in 2005. I saw it while programming in Cincinnati. You could see the labels were very focused on who their target music buyer was (good business sense) and that there was a clear conflict with most country music stations whose core listener was over the age of 35. Look at the 35 plus ratings in most markets across the country. They’re down and have been down for the last two years or so. Music played, disconnect, new artist and music centered content delivered to the listener, disconnect."
The artists are crossing to Pop radio again, Taylor Swift, Lady A, Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts. We're competing with our own music on other formats. There will never be enough of the younger styles and "artificial country" (great line from Crazy Heart) to satisfy the long term chasing younger acts and demos. We have been a 25-54 format with emphasis on 25-44 65-70% females. Then we begin an on air disconnect with Alan Jackson, George Strait and Tim McGraw next to the newer artists. We can't have a family reunion with younger acts and mainstays on the same station. Especially in non-lifestyle markets like Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and others. Across board 25-54 music styles have never been a problem in life group markets: Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas, Kansas City and others.
One of Country Music Radio's biggest PD's told us: "Those of us who pay attention to what our listeners tell us have known this for a long time. The hot new act from Nashville is Taylor Swift, but the average country listener doesn't care. The people who DO care are not country listeners. Yet Nashville has brainwashed country radio into thinking that she is a format superstar and we have to be all over her music.
Then there's the PD’s who move thru the music too quickly because they have to be first in the market with the next (unfamiliar act's name here) single. The average country listener is an adult female who doesn't have time to keep up with all the new unfamiliar music coming from Nashville. Here I can't get Taylor Swift to test any better than 26th out of 28th. Guys I talk to around the country have the same results in their research and yet they have her in heavy. Then they say, "We are investing in a star of tomorrow" or some nonsense. Guys! The listeners have spoken. They don't care about Taylor Swift. Stop trying to beat them over the head with it. You'd be better off playing another George Strait song."
From ROSS ON RADIO: If this is the end of the world, Top 40 feels fine, FOR now. It has only Country as serious competition for current music, and unlike 1990, Country is trying to compete by channeling as much from Top 40 (and, for that matter, the once-despised mid-‘90s Hip-Hop) as it can. Songs can sell without Top 40 airplay, but they don’t come from other formats; (not that a song with top five sales merely from being made available on the iTunes Music Store shouldn’t be concerning also).
If there is a way to find enough shares for Country 18-34, then go for it, but then you end up hurting your money demographic appeal, 25-54. The best road to take is one that entertains, informs and communicates with your core audience, the life group and 25+ Female listeners. Here are three stations from MEDIABASE that work the flow and eras real fine. They stay 25+ Female:
|KSKS-FM||10:02 AM||CHESNEY, KENNY||Down The Road w/Mac McAnally||2008||R|
|KSKS-FM||10:05 AM||CURRINGTON, BILLY||That's How Country Boys Roll||2008||R|
|KSKS-FM||10:09 AM||NICHOLS, JOE||Gimmie That Girl||2009||C|
|KSKS-FM||10:12 AM||PAISLEY, BRAD||The World||2005||G|
|KSKS-FM||10:15 AM||RASCAL FLATTS||Unstoppable||2009||C|
|KSKS-FM||10:24 AM||URBAN, KEITH||Days Go By||2004||G|
|KSKS-FM||10:27 AM||MONTGOMERY, JOHN MICHAEL||I Love The Way You Love Me||1993||G|
|KSKS-FM||10:31 AM||YEARWOOD, TRISHA||XXX's And OOO's (An ...)||1994||G|
|KSKS-FM||10:38 AM||STRAIT, GEORGE||I Gotta Get To You||2009||C|
|KSKS-FM||10:41 AM||JACKSON, ALAN||Gone Country||1994||G|
|KSKS-FM||10:45 AM||MCGRAW, TIM||Live Like You Were Dying||2004||G|
|KSKS-FM||10:50 AM||BRYAN, LUKE||Rain Is A Good Thing||2009||C|
|KSKS-FM||10:53 AM||ALDEAN, JASON||Big Green Tractor||2009||R|
|KSKS-FM||10:56 AM||KEITH, TOBY||How Do You Like Me Now?!||1999||G|
|KSKS-FM||10:59 AM||UNDERWOOD, CARRIE||Temporary Home||2009||R|
|KPLX-FM||2:00 PM||ADKINS, TRACE||You're Gonna Miss This||2007||R|
|KPLX-FM||2:03 PM||AKINS, RHETT||That Ain't My Truck||1994||G|
|KPLX-FM||2:07 PM||CORBIN, EASTON||Little More Country Than That||2009||R|
|KPLX-FM||2:17 PM||MCGRAW, TIM||Watch The Wind Blow By||2002||G|
|KPLX-FM||2:21 PM||WILLS, MARK||19 Somethin'||2002||G|
|KPLX-FM||2:25 PM||PAISLEY, BRAD||Then||2009||R|
|KPLX-FM||2:29 PM||STRAIT, GEORGE||I Gotta Get To You||2009||C|
|KPLX-FM||2:32 PM||LAMBERT, MIRANDA||New Strings||2005||G|
|KPLX-FM||2:36 PM||LADY ANTEBELLUM||I Run To You||2008||R|
|KPLX-FM||2:39 PM||YOUNG, CHRIS||The Man I Want To Be||2008||C|
|KPLX-FM||2:50 PM||ANDERSON, JOHN||Straight Tequila Night||1991||G|
|KPLX-FM||2:53 PM||URBAN, KEITH||Til Summer Comes Around||2009||C|
|KPLX-FM||2:56 PM||ALDEAN, JASON||Big Green Tractor||2009||R|
|KPLX-FM||2:59 PM||BROOKS & DUNN||Proud Of The House We Built||2007||R|
|WPOC-FM||5:03 PM||TURNER, JOSH||Why Don't We Just Dance||2009||R|
|WPOC-FM||5:06 PM||MCGRAW, TIM||Still||2009||C|
|WPOC-FM||5:10 PM||BROOKS, GARTH||The Dance||1990||G|
|WPOC-FM||5:21 PM||PAISLEY, BRAD||I'm Still A Guy||2007||R|
|WPOC-FM||5:25 PM||KENNON, MATT||The Call||2009||C|
|WPOC-FM||5:28 PM||MORGAN, CRAIG||Bonfire||2009||R|
|WPOC-FM||5:33 PM||UNDERWOOD, CARRIE||Undo It||2009||C|
|WPOC-FM||5:36 PM||NICHOLS, JOE||Tequila Makes Her Clothes ...||2005||G|
|WPOC-FM||5:39 PM||ALDEAN, JASON||Big Green Tractor||2009||R|
|WPOC-FM||5:51 PM||LADY ANTEBELLUM||American Honey||2009||C|
|WPOC-FM||5:55 PM||HILL, FAITH||Mississippi Girl||2005||G|
|WPOC-FM||5:58 PM||KEITH, TOBY||Every Dog Has Its Day||2009||C|