Country Radio Lives On

Country Radio Lives On

Despite the growth in streaming services, radio triumphs above the rest.
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I came across an article on Rolling Stone a few months ago that still burns in the back of my mind. The title, “Why Country Radio Still Matters,” sparked my interest and kept my eyes focused on the entire page. I interned at CMT last spring, specifically in the radio department, so obviously this topic was right up my alley.

I am infatuated with country music. Something about the storytelling and the overall melodies grabs my attention more than any other genre. I can see the bond between this style of music and how it connects with its listeners via the radio.

By listening to overnight calls in the studio, you can quickly find out how adamant listeners are about letting you know what they like and what they hate. The majority of the time, you’ll have three or four in a row requesting the same song. I know this is why a multitude of people hate “top 40” radio, and I get it. But the DJs are just trying to give the people what they want.

The frustration of radio and not being able to hear what you want when you want it has led millennials to other options, such as streaming services. Spotify, Pandora, and Tidal all have arisen within the past few years and are spewing with success.

There is one flaw I find with these online services, and it’s one that keeps radio on top of its game: Discovering new music.

If I want to find a hot new country song on Spotify, I’m going to either have to dig, search my favorite artist, or wait for it to come across a premade playlist.

When new artists begin their career, one of the very first things they do in the business is go on radio tours. They’ll travel across the country and hit as many as they can. They’re trying to gain attention, build their fan base, and pray that the station likes their tune. If your song isn’t on the radio, you’re basically not making money. It’s the number one key to success; you’ve got to climb the charts.

It’s not ludicrous either. Mike Curb of Curb Records told Rolling Stone Country, “If those three chains don’t play your music, you won’t have a hit.” The three chains he referred to are the big dogs of the radio world: Cumulus Media, CBS Radio, and iHeartMedia.

Taylor Swift even opened up to Esquire last October describing the bond an artist harvests between radio and their career. “It's a symbiotic relationship, and if you don't take care of it, then they won't take care of you,” she said.

While I do have a premium subscription to Spotify, I find that FM or XM radio is typically my go-to. For starters, in the car it’s a lot more accessible—and you don’t have to waste your data! But also, especially with XM radio, I hear songs and news that others won’t come across for weeks or months.

According to a 2014 study with Edison Research, the numbers back up my feelings. Around 75 percent of listeners discover new music on terrestrial radio, followed by 20 percent on XM, with Spotify in third with 18 percent. Terrestrial radio triumphs because one, it’s free, and two, it’s the most accessible everywhere.

Maybe it’s my soft spot for radio, but I really don’t want to see the old school format go. Like they say in journalism, print is dying. In music, I don’t think radio is—at least with country music. Sure, we can continue the technology train, but in my opinion, radio will always be the game changer in which an artist rises or never becomes a household name.

Cover Image Credit: onlineathens.com

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

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The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

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The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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