“I went around with a microphone to get listener audio for sweepers and promos from tailgaters before the show. At some point in almost all of my ‘interviews’ I would ask who are your favorite country artists? Of course, headliners Tim McGraw and Lady A were mentioned a lot. But, get ready for a surprise. On this particular weekend in the Rockies, Garth Brooks came up a lot and I mean a LOT (just as strong as McGraw and LA combined). Of course, I had Chesney, Taylor, Miranda, Urban and a few others but almost everyone included Garth in their list of favorites. More than George Strait, Toby Keith, Zac Brown or Alan Jackson! (Perhaps, because Toby will be at the same venue in a couple of weeks?) Not surprisingly, new artists were not top-of –mind.
“I know that Garth may not be testing as well as he used to in recent studies and that might be due in part by the sonic presentation of the older production values of his material and the fact that he has no currents or recurrents at all right now.
“If I were Garth, I would put together a radio only disc of remastered cuts that stand up sonically with present Nashville production. As his Walmart release proves, he’s still big to a lot of folks.
“It was purely anecdotal. I probably talked to about 60 people. The end result was that I got some great tape for sweepers and promos. Tailgaters after a couple of beers are fun to get talking.”
Also, of course, he's performing intimate shows for some 12,000 people each weekend in Las Vegas, yet I have to admit that hearing a tune from the early 90's on a station calling itself "new" or "today's" country makes me scratch my head a bit too. Does the music match the marketing message?
Where does Garth fit (or not?) in your programming today? Is country like adult contemporary today, with a strict dividing line between the ages of 38 and 42, where if you target 40+, you play Elton (Garth) and if you target under 40, you don't?