In the latest issue of Music Week, we track the streaming growth of the genre, including classic songs and contemporary hits.
Here, Gary Stein, group programme director, Hits Radio brand network, opens up about the specialist station…
How has Country Hits performed during the lockdown period?
“Country Hits has seen record reach and time spent listening on streaming platforms through the lockdown period to date. In our latest streaming figures, collected from the week August 3-9, Country Hits Radio recorded a 33% increase in reach compared to before lockdown. There are some strong spikes for event activity, but the real record-breaking listening has come through regular daytime shows.
“We are also experiencing steady audience numbers as lockdown restrictions ease, showing that people not only discovered Country Hits Radio during lockdown but are staying with the station. Our weekday daytime shows with Baylen Leonard, Lou Nash and our drive show that hooks up direct to Nashville each day with Paul Koffy and Jasmine are the station’s biggest streamed shows.”
Country Hits has seen record reach and time spent listening on streaming platforms through the lockdown period
Who are the key acts, and have you been able to provide promo opportunities during this time?
“The interesting moments have been for the unsigned acts we discovered. We dedicated a weekend of playout through our Homemade promotion, which we launched during this period. We asked our listeners to send us their Homemade Country – anything from a cover, to original track, to just playing an instrument. If it was country, we supported it. There was some incredible engagement and some high-quality artists out there in the UK that got involved. This feature will be returning to Country Hits later in the year. Three acts that were very popular on Homemade were James Bradshaw, Sarah Watson and Kevin McGuire, who we've supported loads since.”
What's the potential growth for country and the station in UK?
“Huge. Country Hits Radio’s streaming alone shows that the discovery of contemporary country music is something audiences love when they land with it. The radio station’s RAJAR results have shown from day one that there is a substantial young audience listening to the station.”
To read our exclusive report on country streaming, subscribers can click here.
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