Young Country 96.7 To Bring Hip-Hop/Country Hybrid To Nashville
Record producer/songwriter Jamal ‘Polow Da Don’ Jones’s Young Country Holdings will debut Country/CHR “Young Country 96.7” 1030 WYCZ (formerly WQSE) White Bluff/96.7 W244EK Nashville on Thursday, June 6.
The new format will feature a mix of Country artists such as Kane Brown and Chris Young along with crossover stars such as Taylor Swift and rappers like Ryan Upchurch, Migos, Yelawolf, Blanco Brown and Bubba Sparxxx. Polow Da Don, who has produced songs for artists as varied as Kane Brown and Nicki Minaj, will manage the station alongside Mia Welsh-Khabeer and Jeff Haddad.
The station intends use non-traditional forms of playlisting and advertising with the first two months commercial-free sponsored by cryptocurrency platform Litecoin. Litecoin will also power a payment system for merchandise and events. Jones told Billboard that Kane Brown, who he discovered and has since been embroiled in legal battles with, will be the “face of the brand” and first artist they play. They are also are considering a “Women Crush Wednesday” with emphasis on female artists.
Jones purchased then Christian WQSE in February for $100,000 and will complete the move-in of its translator into Nashville where it will operate with 99w/109m.
After more than a decade of delivering hits to pop and hip-hop artists, superstar producer-songwriter Polow Da Don is focusing on his vision of country music.
Fresh off the success of the groundbreaking artist he discovered, Kane Brown, Polow is diving deep into Nashville with his latest venture, an innovative new radio station, WYCZ, dedicated to this youth country movement at 96.7 FM/1030 AM. The station goes live on Thursday, June 6, 2019.
“Young Country” — or #YoCo in the social media world — will be a home for artists connected to this country’s tradition with a sense of a broader, genre-free world of music. “I’m trying to create a platform where artists can do their own thing,” says Polow da Don, who has created No 1s on pop, rap and country charts and is known for his work with Fergie, Nicki Minaj and Usher. “We want the kids to take it over and tell us what’s cool. They’ll be able to dictate what’s hot and I’ll be something of a curator. It’s a station to provide an outlet for all the artists who feel they don’t have a voice in country music.”
Polow says he wants to create an energy and inclusive culture that breaks the standard thought process about country music and genres in general. For starters, Young Country is not concerned with whether an artist is signed to a major label or has a single that is being worked to radio, country or otherwise. The artists he sees fitting the Young Country mold may have roots in country music or simply have grown up in the world of country via the streaming era, exposing them to genres from all over the world that they incorporate into their own unique sound. Stylistic mash-ups that might not appeal to conventional country music gatekeepers are precisely what Polow hopes he’ll encounter when the station makes its playlists. “There’s always been a melting pot for music and country has been a little late to the party,” he says. “The music exists. I just feel like nobody else is taking the initiative to create a world that embraces this music.”
The first two months on air will be commercial free, powered by Litecoin cryptocurrency and YoCo will accept Litecoin as a form of payment for merchandise and events. In addition to non-traditional forms of advertising and playlisting, the station’s team will not have conventional titles and will be operated by Polow da Don, Mia Welsh-Khabeer and Jeff Haddad. On-air talent and other ambassadors will be announced at a later date.
Polow da Don will be working from both Nashville and his native Atlanta where his Zone 4 label is based. He will continue to produce and write songs for established and up-and-coming artists. Among his most recent successes are producing Summerella and discovering and executive producing Kane Brown.
Making the leap into the Nashville scene is a no brainer for him. “It’s natural for any creative person to look at things happening in the world and envision something different,” he says. “A lot of times, it takes someone from the outside to make the biggest mark on an industry. The idea of Young Country had to come from somebody like me who’s not trapped by the thought of how things have been done in the past.”