Country Music Returns to New York City Radio Dial

39th Annual CMA Awards

Country Music returns the New York City radio dial after a three year absence with programming on WYNE during weekday morning drive time (7:00 AM-Noon/EST) and during the midday and evening drive (1:00-7:00 PM/EST).WNYE 91.5-FM for the first time in three years.

Top radio personalities from around the country are supplying custom content including music, Top 20 countdowns and interviews with artists. Participating in the program are on-air crews from KMPS/Seattle, KZLA/Los Angeles, WKHX/Atlanta, KNIX/Phoenix, WGAR/Cleveland, WSIX/Nashville and more. Nationally syndicated Country personalities include 2005 CMA National Broadcast Personality of the Year Lia from Jones Radio Networks, Blair Garner from “After Midnite,” Bob Kingsley of “American Country Countdown” and “Country Countdown USA” host Lon Helton. Helton, who also chairs CMA’s Radio Committee, said, “It’s been over three years since New York City had a Country station of its own. And there’s no better prelude to ‘Country Takes NYC’ and the CMA Awards than showcasing America’s top Country radio personalities and America’s favorite music on 91.5 WNYE.”

WXTU-FM Philadelphia, is also participating in bringing Country Music to the Big Apple with on-air hosts Evans and Andie and Cadillac Jack.

“One of our goals in bringing the Awards to New York City this year was to demonstrate that Country Music is a viable format in this market,” said CMA Executive Director Ed Benson. “Programming Country Music on the city-owned station is a valuable tool in reaching potential consumers and decision makers with great music and programs put together by some of the most talented radio professionals in the nation.”

“We are excited to join the ‘Country Takes NYC’ celebration by giving New Yorkers a taste of 92.5 XTU flavor,” said Natalie Conner, VP/GM of the station. “It’s an honor to be part of such a landmark celebration, and we expect that Evans and Andie and Cadillac Jack will win over the New York audience.”

Programming began early last week, with the broadcast of XM Satellite Radio’s contemporary Country channel, Highway 16 (XM Channel 16), which is one of XM’s six Country offerings. The satellite radio service has 5 million subscribers.

Eric Logan, Executive VP of Programming for XM, said, “Country Music is a vital part of American culture and we think it’s important to offer Country Music to New York radio listeners as part of our dynamic programming lineup that will help build anticipation for the CMA Awards at Madison Square Garden.”

“We are excited to be the station bringing Country Music back to the New York airwaves,” said Arick Wierson, the GM of NYC Media Group, which oversees WNYE 91.5-FM. “The numbers speak for themselves. Country is too big to not have a presence in the world’s largest media market.”

“We are delighted to hear that XM received calls from New Yorkers ecstatic to hear Country radio back in New York City,” said Maureen J. Reidy, President of NYC Big Events. “It would be incredible if hosting the CMA Awards in NYC encouraged the rebirth of Country radio in the City.”

In addition, CMA’s radio partner, MJI Broadcasting, a Division of Premiere Radio Networks, is bringing 50 of the top market stations and Blair Garner to NYC for three days of remote broadcasts during morning and afternoon drive time.

The stations, which will be broadcasting Sunday, Nov. 13, through CMA Awards day, Tuesday, Nov. 15, include Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, Detroit, Boston and all points in between.

The last full-signal Country radio station WYNY switched formats in 1996. A second WYNY, which was four smaller suburban stations simulcasting their programming, dropped the format in 2002. Since then, Country Music has turned up as genre-specific shows on various stations and non-commercial radio, on television-delivered music channels, and satellite radio with XM and Sirius, which both program multiple Country channels.

Country is the most popular radio format in the U.S. with more than 2,000 stations, with Talk Radio coming in a distant second. Of the major markets, only NYC and San Francisco are missing Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride and Alan Jackson from the radio dial.

Even without the benefit of a full-time Country station, New York City is the No. 1 or 2 sales market for Country Music product each year accounting for 2.5 percent of all Country albums sold.

“We know there are consumers here that will embrace Country radio,” Benson said. “And now through the CMA Awards it will be even easier to sample and enjoy the best music in the format on WNYE.”

source: Country Music Association

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