Interesting Playlist Tweaks At KSCS & WNSH

96.3 KSCS Dallas CHR Rhianna Kanye Ellie Goulding 94.7 NashFM Nash FM WNSH New YorkRhianna and Kanye West getting Country music airplay? Cumulus has made some intriguing playlist changes at Country 96.3 KSCS Dallas and “94.7 Nash-FM” WNSH New York this week.

KSCS today has added some pop crossover songs that at first glance look completely out of place on a Country station:

4:18pm Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
3:40pm Taylor Swift – Style
2:18pm Taylor Swift – Blank Space
12:18pm Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
10:42am Rhianna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney – FourFiveSeconds
9:16am Ed Sheeran – Don’t
6:22am Avicii/Aloe Blacc – Wake Me Up
5:41am Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
4:12am Capital Cities – Safe And Sound
1:37am One Republic – Counting Stars
12:16am Echosmith – Cool Kids

We’re not sure what the intent is other than to potentially differentiate KSCS from sister “99.5 The Wolf” KPLX. iHeartMedia’s combo of CHR “106.1 Kiss-FM” KHKS and Hot AC “102.9 Now” KDMX dominate the market with nearly a 13 share combined; perhaps KSCS is attempting to keep some of the listeners who flip back and forth between the those two and the Country outlet a reason to stick around.

Similarly WNSH added a number of 1990s/2000s tracks from the likes of John Mayer, Plain White T’s, Kelly Clarkson, Counting Crows, and Hootie & The Blowfish over the weekend, but haven’t played any of them today. With WNSH struggling to gain acceptance in the New York market after a long period without the format, adding familiar artists and tracks does make some sense, especially in the case of Hootie where lead singer Darius Rucker has become a core artist at Country. WNSH has also added a number of prior Country crossover tracks such as Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow’s “Picture”, Bon Jovi “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”, Shania Twain “Man I Feel Like A Woman”, and Faith Hill “This Kiss”. Back in the 1970s/80s, 1050 WHN also played pop crossover that fit in the Country sound sonically to help make the station more palatable to New York listeners. Using familiar tracks to expose listeners to a format that has never been successful in the market.


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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

11 Comments


  1. Because it is not politically correct to have a country station play country music.


  2. Most of today’s country music is really just pop with a few country-like touches (fiddle, guitars) anyway. But maybe I’m just a traditionalist (or at least someone who can’t see the connection between Kid Rock and actual country music.)

    Bottom line is you just can’t hear these songs enough already on the CHR or AC stations. So now they’re on the country stations. Look for Luke Bryan on your local hip-hop station.


  3. Although it may seem foolish for KSCS and WNSH to incorporate pop into their playlist, I can certainly appreciate the effort to mesh the 2 genres of music together. CHR stations play all various genres of contemporary music but mainstream country is probably the least played format of music on CHR stations. You’re much more likely to find alternative rock or EDM songs on the rotations of CHR stations than a country song. The only station off the top of my head that is trying to fit country music into their CHR playlist is WKAZ out of Charleston, WV. Country music has been so isolated from the rest of the music industry, so it’s nice to see these country stations finally bridging this isolation gap. But in the end, I’m not sure if this is going to be good for KSCS and WNSH ratings.


    • Ironically, Sean Ross mentioned in his Billboard column about these tweaks (at http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6509505/country-radio-goes-pop-how-formats-shift-when-genres-cross) that he was originally going to profile Santa Rosa’s Y100.9 (KSXY)–which “recently shifted to an all-current format, adding both alternative and country titles not usually heard at CHR. The latter included current hits from Brett Eldredge, Jason Aldean, Cole Swindell, Darius Rucker, Thomas Rhett, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini and more.”

      That station’s official playlist (linked from its site) is at http://www.mediabase.com/whatsong/whatsong.asp?var_s=075083088089045070077.


      • Nice! Too bad KSXY’s listeners haven’t been too opened minded with its addition of country music. Just a quick read over its Facebook page indicates some disdain over their new format. Similarly goes to WNSH and KSCS listners who have generally been very closed minded towards their pop music shift.


        • The question is if the crossover music fits sonically with the format at large.

          What Cumulus is now doing is throwing up everything but the kitchen sink in a desperation move. Ed Sheeran and Sheryl Crow make perfect sense, but Avicci? Echosmith? Capital Cities? Kayne West (blech)? No way would I consider them a sonic match with the overall country format.

          Unlike in the 1980s, when WMMS Cleveland defied the consultants and mixed in a TON of CHR product (to the point that the long-running AOR actually switched to “CHR” for a few years so that they could acquire new product from record labels) this could backfire badly on both stations.


  4. One has to wonder what is the strategy Cumulus is trying to do with their Country outlets. But whatever they are trying to do might work.


  5. Taylor Swift prior to her current album would be considered country (especially her early works).


  6. The only thing that Cumulus is failing to consider with WNSH is that the station by design wasn’t meant to target New Yorkers. It was meant to fulfill their intention of a national brand and Borging all of their country stations – and the Westwood One national platforms – under that national brand.

    Seriously. They are live/local only in middays and afternoons. The rest is syndicated fare originating elsewhere. How in the world can WNSH compete?

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