News: A bit of poetic justice and extreme irony as CBS Radio resigns from the Country Music Association just as the organization started Country Music Month, after CMA signs a ten year deal for TV broadcast rights with ABC. They told CBS Radio/Phoenix OM and KMLE PD Jeff Garrison to resign his longtime position on the CMA Board Of Directors. Now, he gets a new assignment, as he explained to Country Aircheck “helping our Country stations and our digital platforms to work more closely with artists to extend the brands of our stations while promoting new artists, album releases, concerts and other projects" as VP/Country Artist Relations, in addition to his role in Phoenix.
Comment: Every country radio station in the world needs to join the CMA. Now, more than ever. As a board member, I promise to work with the other radio representatives on the board to make it more worth your while than ever in the coming year!
CBS may have a lot of reporting and monitored station muscle, but no one in the industry is as well positioned to aggressively assist “Country radio stations and our digital platforms to work more closely with artists to extend the brands of our stations while promoting new artists, album releases, concerts and other projects." Join. Then, let's join hands with CMA to do what CBS hopes to do without CMA within it and even better for all radio stations in every market size and ownership affiliation. That's what CMA was founded to do.
News: Cumulus/Atlanta has decided that the future for their new acquisition WKHX is to offer a choice rather than battle head-on anymore with Clear Channel's WUBL KIX has just gone from 220 tunes in its Gold catalog the week prior to 381 last week. If every song is a marketing message, KIX is saying "hellooo, 45-54." They now play only 37% current and recurrents and have added early Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, the Judds, Patty Loveless, Diamond Rio and many others from the 80's and 90's. CC's The Bull is 68% current/recurrent. It's "best country hits" vs "today's new country."
Comment: A&O's 2011 "Roadmap" national perceptual study certainly has shown that there's a large upper demo appetite for more variety and less repetition and Coleman's CRS 2011 research project replicates that it's also quite possible to build a very viable and unique music coalition centered on the highly familiar music of the class of '89 boom.
However, are there enough meters in the Atlanta country sample for two stations to create a "difference" that only half the audience will love?
Both Cumulus and Clear Channel managements are savy and smart, so you can be sure they looked hard at it before making this decision.
It's a first for PPM measured markets, though Cox's classic country KTHT/Houston, has proven that an even older narrow country target can perform consistently in a PPM market with a large enough country cume.
Keep an eye on Atlanta and be prepared to learn something about country's narrow demos and metered sampling.
The pressure is on ARB to deliver consistent samples in 18-44, men, women, and 40-54, men and women.
If they don't, the ratings for 'KHX and 'UBL will be more of an indication of ongoing panel sample issues than with the differentiation strategy Cumulus unveiled last Friday.