First Listen: The Brand

The BrandBefore there was “Hot Country” or “New Country,” there was the Country battle in Houston. Through the ‘80s and early ‘90s, KILT-FM (FM100) under consultant Ed Shane and rival KIKK-FM were mainstream musically (at least as I now remember them), but had an extra level of presentational gloss and energy that made them the brightest sounding stations of their era, until rival KKBQ (93Q Country) and some of the Citadel stations went further in the mid-‘90s.

Josh “Rowdy Yates” Holstead was at both KILT and KIKK. Now he’s teamed with another Houston radio veteran, Pat Fant and veteran PD Cruze’s Suitenet for a new syndicated 24/7 format, The Brand.

Since that Houston battle, Country has been through three up/down cycles. Each time hot country becomes not-as-hot, there’s always a question of whether and how to broaden. The Brand, at least as heard on Yates’ demo stream—which is produced and hosted—is hewing to what helped make the format broader and younger a few years ago, focusing largely on the last few years without older gold.

Here’s the Brand as monitored at 8 a.m., May 17:

  • Lindsay Eli, “Criminal”
  • Brett Young, “Mercy”
  • Jason Aldean, “You Make It Easy”
  • Blake Shelton, “Every Time I Hear That Song”
  • David Lee Murphy & Kenny Chesney, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”
  • Dan + Shay, “How Not To”
  • Brad Paisley f/Alabama, “Old Alabama”
  • Lady Antebellum, “Heart Break”
  • Sam Hunt, “Take Your Time”
  • Cole Swindell f/Dierks Bentley, “Flatliner”
  • Justin Moore, “Kinda Don’t Care”
  • Bebe Rexha f/Florida Georgia Line, “Meant To Be”
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