Now that New York has a new home for country music, there will ultimately be air personalities on NASH FM 94.7.
Cumulus VP/New York market manager Kim Bryant tells FishbowlNY that it will take a month or so before DJs are phased into the programming.
Yesterday, Cumulus announced the plan for NASH branding nationwide with its stable of 83 Country stations. But Bryant says 94.7, which is expected to change call letters to WNSH next week, will stay true to the city.
“It’ll all be out of New York,” Bryant says. “We have a studio here. We’re going to be a New York radio station.”
Bryant confirms that NASH is broadcasting from 2 Penn Plaza, alongside sister stations WPLJ and WABC.
She strikes down any possibility of linking the Country stations into a “Nash-in-nal” network.
“Every market is unique. Every market is going to have its own needs,” Bryant says.
In addition to the radio stations, the multi-platform Country plan includes a monthly magazine, concerts, and TV programming.
Cumulus made the rumor official Monday when it named the Family Radio acquisition as Country format, the first for New York City in 17 years.
But Bryant says the decision wasn’t immediate from the time of the purchase.
“Cumulus [was] extremely thoughtful and strategic when they came in and looked at the complete landscape of New York,” Bryant says.
The powers that be at the second-largest radio company in the U.S., ultimately agreed to give Country the spot on the dial.
“Where is the hole in the market?” Bryant asks. “When they drilled down [they] decided it should be Country. But they looked at everything.”
As we reported in September, the time was definitely ripe for Country in New York. Artists crossed over like Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum. Of course, Carrie Underwood took it to another level, thanks to her American Idol win.
Bryant recognizes those performers, and many others, help make it the perfect confluence.
“I think the timing is better than it’s ever been for Country,” Bryant admits.
Having said that, radio is all about success, especially in New York. Radio programmers year after year are apprehensive about red lighting Country. The common rationale: “It doesn’t play in New York,” and “Only woman will listen.”
Bryant, though, has her own theories about its future in NYC.
“I think Country is in a different place than it was 10 years ago,” Bryant says. “I think that it’s more mainstream.”
Also pointed out in our FishbowlNY piece last summer, headliner concerts at Madison Square Garden and the MetLife Stadium are consistently standing room only, a tidbit not lost on Bryant.
“The fact that you’ve got Jason Aldean coming in March 1 [Mohegan Sun] and the concert sells out in two seconds, that is a reflection of the marketplace,” Bryant says.
Even though the blueprint is there for success, Bryant does understand that turning NASH into a viable station will not be easy.
“We’re going to have to work really hard in certain areas, and just hit a home run in other areas,” Bryant says.
Bryant and the other Cumulus programmers could have eased listeners into sounds of the genre’s more popular singers. However, from the initial “introduction,” the game plan was clear with a mix of classic artists, current stars, and more mainstream.
“We are what we are,” Bryant says. “That absolutely means the Alan Jacksons, the George Straits; and the Carrie Underwoods and Taylor Swifts are equally important.”
Despite having studios in Midtown Manhattan, the city of license remains Newark, New Jersey. People have already told FishbowlNY about a weak signal in parts of Western Suffolk. Even Nassau County can be problematic from analog receiver. Therefore, a move of the tower is a distinct possibility.