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Number One For New Country? Here’s Three That Aren’t

If the proliferation of Soft AC pop formats says something about the music available to Top 40 radio, it probably also means something that two different friends of Ross On Radio sent links this week to gold-based Country formats they were working on this week.

Freymiller Radio is an online Classic Rock/Country hybrid created by Howard Kroeger—architect of both the Adult Hits “Bob FM” and Classic Country “Hank FM”/“Duke FM” formats—on behalf of an Oklahoma-based trucking firm and aimed at both current and potential drivers. The Country/Classic Rock hybrid has challenged programmers since the earliest days of Classic Rock, but it’s a natural for the infinite dial and for the playlist era.

Straight Up Country is a yesterday-and-today Country format from veteran programmer Bill Thorman, best known for his CHR stations in New Orleans and San Antonio. Thorman is currently production director of Dallas/Ft. Worth’s KHYI (the Ranch) and the market’s Hank FM affiliate, KTFW, as well as in-house consultant. The format targets the older listeners of mainstream Country and the younger listeners of the Classic Country format.

840 CFCW EdmontonSince this is Canadian Music Week, I also decided to take a Fresh Listen to “Alberta’s Country Legend,” CFCW Edmonton, which endures as an AM music outlet with its own yesterday-and-today mix. CFCW is the kind of full-service radio station where you can randomly hear three 10-year-olds in the studio with p.m. driver A.J. Keller competing to make the best animal noise, and hear about two different area rodeos. It’s always a great listen, both for the music and for “sense of place.”

Of course, if you like Classic Country, almost any packaging of it is a great listen these days. The state of today’s Country music is complicated at best, but Country stations—even those that most resemble Mainstream AC in their feel and structure—have been afraid not to own the “new country” image. If the format feels claustrophobic to you—too many sincere midtempo vaguely AC-ish love songs, any yesterday-and-today station is a relief.

Here’s Freymiller Radio on Sunday afternoon, May 5:

  • Miranda Lambert, “Famous In A Small Town”
  • Henry Lee Summer, “I Wish I Had A Girl”
  • Tim McGraw, “Diamond Rings And Old Barstools”
  • Mark Chesnutt, “Heard It In A Love Song”
  • Patty Loveless, “Lonely Too Long”
  • Zac Brown Band f/Jimmy Buffett, “Knee Deep”
  • Marty Stuart, “Now That’s Country”
  • John Anderson, “Seminole Wind”
  • Dierks Bentley f/Brothers Osborne, “Burning Man”
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd, “That Smell”
  • Joe Diffie, “Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox (If I Die)”
  • Eric Church, “His Kind Of Money (My Kind Of Love)”
  • Big & Rich, “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)”
  • Alabama, “Tennessee River”
  • Tim McGraw, “Southern Girl”
  • Vince Gill, “What The Cowgirls Do”
  • Rolling Stones, “You Win Again”
  • Gretchen Wilson, “Redneck Woman”
  • Willie Nelson, “Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground”
  • Jason Aldean, “Gonna Know We Were Here”

Here’s Straight Up Country on May 6, 2019. Thorman describes his format as roughly 20% current/recurrent; 30% other millennial titles; 35% 90s and older; 15% George Strait. So seeing Strait twice in this monitor is not an artist separation issue.

  • Jon Pardi, “Night Shift”
  • Shenandoah, “The Church On Cumberland Road”
  • Mark Chestnutt, “Bubba Shot The Jukebox”
  • Blake Shelton, “Honey Bee”
  • Vince Gill, “Go Rest High On That Mountain”
  • George Strait, “Troubadour”
  • Travis Tritt, “Country Club”
  • Runaway June, “Buy My Own Drinks”
  • Eddie Rabbitt & Crystal Gayle, “You And I”
  • Taylor Swift, “Tim McGraw”
  • Brett Young, “Here Tonight”
  • George Strait, “How ‘Bout Them Cowgirls”
  • Toby Keith, “How Do You Like Me Now”
  • Zac Brown Band, “My Old Man”

Here’s CFCW just before 4 p.m. on May 3, 2019 with Canadian titles noted:

  • High Valley, “Have I Told You I Love You Lately” (CDN)
  • Chris LeDoux & Garth Brooks, “Whatcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy”
  • Diamond Rio, “Unbelievable” (the song out of the :00 news)
  • Aaron Pritchett, “Better When I Do” (CDN)
  • Highway 101, “Cry Cry Cry”
  • Eric Church, “Some Of It”
  • Waylon & Willie, “Just To Satisfy You”
  • Dean Brody, “Another Man’s Gold” (CDN)
  • Dan Davidson, “Can’t Help Myself” (CDN)
  • George Strait, “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind”
  • Shania Twain, “(If You’re Not In It For Love) I’m Outta Here” (CDN)
  • Duane Steele, “Nobody Cheated, Nobody Lied” (CDN)
  • Jon Pardi, “Night Shift”
  • Kacey Musgraves, “Follow Your Arrow”
  • Desert Rose Band, “She Don’t Love Nobody”
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1 Comment
  1. RFLA says

    CFCW is one of my favorite to go to stations . But yes, still has farm report, has two studios.. one in city of license for mid morning guy who does a trivia/request show, the other is in the middle of one of the biggest malls in Canada. Plus great mix of country. After roughly 8pm local on Saturday night, they go commercial free just running music and liners till like 4am Sunday morning. One of my top 5 terrestrial radio stations!!!

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