Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cumulus Launches NASH Icon Format Nationwide

Cumulus Media officially launched their “NASH Icon” brand to radio on Friday (8-15), changing thirteens stations over to the new format that favors country music released from a 25-year “classic” period. Included is Atlanta’s Oldies 98.9 (translator W255CJ, main channel WWWQ 99.7 FM-HD2).

It is just one of the thirteen total radio stations that are scheduled at the moment to take on the new NASH Icon brand, including Nashville’s WSM 95.5 FM.

Of the thirteen radio stations looking to change over to the new format, only two of them are country stations—95.5 WSM in Nashville, and KJJY 92.5 FM in Des Moines. Three are classic or oldies stations mostly catering to older rock & roll, three are sports stations, three are contemporary hit radio stations, and one is news/talk.

The current flip list includes:
  • DesMoines 92.5 KJJY (Country)
  • Bloomington, IL  WJBC Pontiac (News/Talk)
  • Albuquerque KBZU (Classic Rock)
  • Atlanta 98.9 W255CJ (Classic Hits) and WWWQ 98.7 FM-HD2
  • Oxnard, CA 106.3 KRRF (Classic Hits)
  • Lake Charles KQLK (CHR)
  • Birmingham, AL 99.5 WZRR (CHR)
  • Albany, GA WNUQ (CHR)
  • Fort Smith, AR 100.7 KLSZ 
  • Savannah, GA 102.1 WZAT (Sports)
  • Kansas City 102.5 K273BZ  (Sports)
  • Detroit 93.1 HD2 WDRQ
NASH Icon was first announced in May as a joint venture between Cumulus Media and Big Machine Records. As mainstream country music radio has abandoned most of country music’s older artists, the idea with NASH Icon is to give a home to artists who still have large audiences, but no home on the radio dial. Meanwhile the NASH Icon record label is looking to sign artists from the 25-year window, and also wants to be involved heavily in merchandising and touring. The announcement of NASH Icon has many people in radio talking about a format split in country with contemporary country and “classic” country.

During a earnings conference call with financial analysts last week, Cumulus chairman Lew Dickey said about NASH Icon, “We expect to announce a slate of signed artists before the holidays, and we’ll be working with our artists to monetize their work through recorded music, touring, merchandise and other related ventures. Following a start-up period in 2014, NASH ICON is expected to be profitable beginning next year.”

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