Thursday, February 11, 2016

UMG Exec: Country Radio Still Strong

Mike Dungan
Universal Music Group Nashville CEO and Chairman Mike Dungan first joined the Country Radio Seminar board of directors 15 years ago, thinking he’d serve for a year or two and then step off.

Dungan, who was running newcomer Capitol Nashville at the time, said his appointment to the board was noteworthy because he was the first label president ever on the CRS board. CRS, which wrapped up on Wednesday, is an annual seminar in which radio executives meet with Music Row leaders to discuss issues facing country radio.

Fast forward 15 years and Dungan is still on the board, which he called the “singularly most important thing” in keeping country music and country radio as special as they are.

Dungan talked with Tennessean music business reporter Nate Rau about the state of country radio, concerns about how young millennials consume music and whether the ascension of Chris Stapleton is a game-changer for the industry.

What are your views on the health of country radio right now?

People have been predicting the decline of regular broadcast radio in the face of all these new technologies for several years now and it’s stronger than it’s ever been. I think every bit of research we’ve seen shows that the primary way people intersect with music and learn about music is still radio.

There’s some somewhat puzzling information that the very, very young end of the millennials that shows they’re not intersecting with radio. They’re using online services and digital services almost exclusively rather than radio. But what we’ve yet to see is will they carry those patterns of behavior forward with them as they get older, or will they go back and become consumers of broadcast radio when they get a certain age. We don’t know that yet. It’s the first generation we’ve had a chance to look at.

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