Update 8/15: Cumulus has debuted the “Nash Icon” Country brand on fourteen stations across the nation. 98.9 W255CJ Atlanta and 102.1 WZAT Savannah were the first to make the flip at 12pm Eastern. Five more followed at 3pm Central and the rest scattered across the remainder of the afternoon.
The stations making the move to Nash Icon are:
- Country 92.5 KJJY Des Moines
- Classic Country “92.5 The Outlaw” Newaygo/Muskegon MI
- News/Talk 93.7 WJBC-FM Pontiac/Bloomington IL
- AC “Warm 94.9” KRMW Cedarville/Fayetteville AR
- Country 95.5 WSM-FM Nashville
- Classic Rock “96.3 The Mountain” KBZU Albuquerque
- CHR “Hot 97.9” KQLK De Ridder/Lake Charles
- Classic Hits “Good Time Oldies 98.9” W255CJ Atlanta
- CHR “99.5 The Vibe” WZRR Birmingham
- Sports “100.7 The Ticket” KLSZ-FM Fort Smith
- CHR “Q102.1” WNUQ Sylvester/Albany GA
- Sports “SportsRadio 102.1” WZAT Savannah
- Sports “102.5 The Fan” K273BZ Kansas City
- “Classic Hits 106.3” KRRF Oak View/Oxnard CA
The brand also launched on 93.1 WDRQ-HD2 Detroit.
INSTANT INSIGHT: Only two of the inaugural Nash Icon branded stations were previously Country, both in markets where Cumulus previously rebranded their other Country station in town as “Nash-FM”. Of the new flips, only Birmingham and Kansas City come in markets where Cumulus does not already own a Country formatted station.
A big takeaway is the removal of CBS Sports Radio from three of the stations. Just last year Cumulus had made the network one of its tentpoles for growth, but is now scaling back in the wake of low ratings and slowed growth of the network.
EXCLUSIVE: RadioInsight has learned that Cumulus will launch the first series of “Nash Icons” stations on Friday, August 15 at 3pm.
While the number of stations and which ones will convert to the Nash Icons brand are not yet known, some indicators have begun to pop up. A Twitter account for 95.5 WSM-FM Nashville, a Facebook page hints at the network launching on what is now “CBS Sports Radio 102.1” WZAT Savannah. Robby Bridges, Program Director of “93.1 Nash-FM” WDRQ Detroit tweets that he will be involved with the launch of a new station at the time mentioned.
Original Report 8/8: Back in May, Cumulus and Big Machine Label Group announced they were partnering on a “Nash Icons” record label and network of radio stations. The format will focus on “old hits and new material by 1990s country stars such as Garth Brooks, George Strait, Shania Twain and the Judds, along with a handful of similar acts from the late 1980s and early 2000s”.
Cumulus registered domains for the brand yesterday showing off their potential plans for the format. Domains for every FM frequency in the pattern of ###NashIcon.com and NashIcon###.com. Cumulus also registered domains for every market they currently own stations in the pattern of MarketNashIcon.com.
In addition are four domains for markets with no apparent connection to Cumulus: ConcordNashIcon.com, GreenvilleNashIcon.com, ManchesterNashIcon.com, and MarionNashIcon.com. As Cumulus prepares to distribute Nash and NashIcons via its WestwoodOne networks, this could give an indication of some of the first markets where the brand will launch outside of Cumulus ownership.
We’ve heard from multiple sources that Cumulus plans to launch the first Nash Icons stations on or before Labor Day.