Country Insider News

Thursday evening during a taping of the Grand Ole Opry’s upcoming 95th-anniversary special for NBC-TV, Darius Rucker invited the three members of Lady A to join him as members of the Opry cast. Their membership is effective immediately. The two-hour “Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music” special is set to air Sunday, Feb. 14 (9pm, NBC). Read more

Did you catch the NFL’s telecast of one of their wild-card playoff games on Nickelodeon last week? Yes, Nickelodeon! Interesting combination, huh? After hearing about it, I decided to give at least one quarter a view. I wound up watching the entire game. It was probably the most entertaining TV sports event I’ve seen since Howard Cosell and Dandy Don Meredith left “Monday Night Football”! Read more

Nielsen Audio’s Fall ’20 results released Thursday showed four country stations ranked at No. 1 in their respective markets, led by iHeartMedia WLLR Quad Cities, IA (103.7), which rose from a 14.3 12+ AQH share in the Spring book to an impressive 15.5. Also perched atop their markets: iHeart Media “Froggy 99.9” WWFG Salisbury-Ocean City, MD; SummitMedia KTTS Springfield, MO (94.7); and Cumulus Media KYKZ Lake Charles, LA (96.1). Read more

Morgan Wallen isn’t the only country artist flooding the market with music in 2021. Starting April 16, Eric Church will release three albums — collectively called “Heart & Soul” — over the course of eight days. In a video message posted Thursday, Church said the album was written and recorded during a 28-day retreat in the North Carolina mountains. Read more

President Joe Biden on Thursday designated Jessica Rosenworcel as Acting Chair of the Federal Communications Commission. Rosenworcel is the senior Democrat on the Commission. She has been at the FCC since 2012, albeit with a brief departure in 2017. The White House did not say whether it plans to nominate Rosenworcel to hold the post on a permanent basis. Read more

Cumulus Media has restructured upper sales management at its Westwood One division and local station group as Ron Russo is elevated to President, Sales at the network. Russo succeeds Bryan Forbes, who exits to pursue another opportunity. Additionally, Rafe D’Amico is promoted to Senior VP of National Sales, where he will lead the Cumulus Radio Station Group’s national spot team and manage the relationship with rep firm Katz Radio Group. Read more

The Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. names Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern the recipient of its 2020 CRB President’s Award. The award is presented to “an individual who has made a significant contribution to the marketing, production, growth and development of the Country Radio Seminar,” a release stated. “Sarah is the epitome of this award,” CRB/CRS Board President Kurt Johnson said. Read more

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Mickey Guyton, Ashley McBryde, Chris Stapleton and Ingrid Andress all top categories in the 21st annual Nashville Scene Country Music Critics Poll, with Guyton ranking No. 1 for Artist, Single and Female Vocalist. Ninety-five music journalists, published in outlets ranging from Country Standard Time and The Bluegrass Situation to Rolling Stone and the New York Times, voted in the poll. Read more

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Classic country “Cow Country” takes over at Galaxie Broadcasting WGXI-AM Sheboygan, WI, which simulcasts on 1420 AM and translator W253CW at 98.5. The format formerly had been soft AC/standards “Love 98.5.” “In radio and much like life, nothing is forever and eventually things change,” the station posted to its Facebook page Wednesday. Read more

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“America’s Truckin’ Network” has been revived as an hourly program on iHeartMedia talk WLW Cincinnati. The live overnight show was cancelled by the station in November after the dismissal of host Steve Sommers. The new pre-recorded version of “America’s Truckin’ Network” is anchored by Eric “Bubba Bo” Boulanger, who hosted a weekend version of the show. Read more

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The Parton family grieves the loss of Randy Parton, who succumbed to cancer. He was 67. A country singer-songwriter and entertainer, Randy was the youngest brother of Dolly Parton. “We know he is in a better place than we are at this time,” Parton shared in a joint statement with her family Thursday morning on Facebook. Read more

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This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the release of Josh Turner’s “Your Man” album, and SiriusXM is helping the singer celebrate with a special hosted by Buzz Brainard on Y2Kountry (Channel 61). The special, in which Turner shares stories about the album and fields questions from fans, premieres today at noon ET with additional airings throughout the weekend. Read more

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We may have moved into a new year, but James Robert Webb still holds the No. 1 spot on the CDX TRACtion True Indie chart with “Good Time Waitin’ to Happen” (Bison Creek Records). Eric Burgett’s “Sometimes Late at Night” (Bow to Stern Records) is the week’s Greatest Spin Gainer and rises No. 9-No. 7. Read more

Townsquare Media WITL Lansing-East Lansing, MI (100.7) claims the top spot in its market in the Nielsen Audio Fall ’20 book, as the station’s 12+ AQH share rises 9.1-9.3. Two other country stations hold onto their market’s No. 1 position in the results released Wednesday: iHeartMedia “Kix 104” KKIX Fayetteville, AR (9.2-8.1) and Midwest Communications “Y100 Country” WNCY Appleton-Oshkosh, WI (10.1-9.6). Read more

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“Wazz and Carletta” (Steve Wazz and Carletta Blake), mornings at iHeartMedia WGAR-FM Cleveland (99.5) lost a bet with Steel City Media “Q104” KBEQ-FM Kansas City morning hosts “Mike & Jenny” when the Cleveland Browns lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday’s NFL playoff game. “Wazz and Carletta” had to jump in Lake Erie as a result of losing the bet. Read more

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Bobby Bones continues to roll out details for his upcoming wedding to Caitlin Parker. Wednesday on Premiere Networks’ syndicated “The Bobby Bones Show,” Bones announced that he asked the show’s Eddie Garcia to be his best man at the ceremony, slated for May. Garcia says he’s been keeping the news a secret since Christmas. Read more

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“Big Rick” Daniels assumed PD duties at White River Broadcasting “Indiana Country 101.5” WKKG Bloomington, IN yesterday and will soon be taking over as morning host, as well. “I should be on the air very, very soon,” Daniels said in a video posted on the station’s website Tuesday. Daniels most recently was at Reising Radio Partners “KORN Country 100.3” WYGB Franklin, IN. Read more

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The C2C Festival, initially rescheduled for March, has been postponed until 2022 due to COVID-19 concerns. “Due to the complications of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the current restrictions on mass gatherings and international travel we are sad to say that C2C will not be able to go ahead in March 2021 as planned,” festival organizers said in a statement. Read more

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Luke Combs performs for a limited audience ahead of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 14 (1pm ET, FOX). “I grew up watching the NASCAR race every Sunday with my granddad; that was our thing,” Combs said in a release. “I never could have imagined back then that I’d be playing the Daytona 500 one day.” Read more

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The longest running organization for women in the Nashville music industry, SOURCE Nashville reveals its 2021 board members. Newly elected members to the nonprofit include SOURCE president Kari Barnhart (Regions Bank); board member Clair Taylor (Average Joes Entertainment); treasurer Greta Day (Sussman & Associates) and secretary/awards chair Erica Rosa (FBMM). Read more