New national country music station to launch next month

The UK’s first national pop country music station, Country Hits Radio is being launched on DAB by Bauer Media on 5th April.

Country Hits Radio will play the best pop country music, and the artists that are crossing over into the charts.

With a playlist including the likes of Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves, Thomas Rhett, Maren Morris, Florida Georgia Line, Dan + Shay and Carrie Underwood, the new station will appeal to modern country music-lovers.

News of the launch follows on from C2C: Country 2 Country music festival, the biggest festival of its kind outside of the US, which took place over the weekend.

Presenters joining the station include Baylen Leonard, who’ll be presenting a daily weekday show. Previously, he’s presented country music shows and specials for BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 and he recently won International Country Broadcaster at the 2019 CMA International Awards.

Nashville’s Ty Bentli will share the best music and news from the US country scene Monday to Friday and singer-songwriter Una Healy of The Saturdays, will also join the station for a weekend show.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Una Healy said: “When you look at the success of artists such as The Shires and Ward Thomas as well as huge events like Country 2 Country, it’s clear there’s a real audience for country music in the UK. It’s a genre I’ve fallen in love with and it’s thrilling that it now has a home in Country Hits Radio. I can’t wait to get started!”

Jennie Longdon, Scarlett Howard, Lou Nash and Emma Jones are also joining the line-up.

During the launch week next month, the station will play host to guest appearances from some of the biggest stars in country music, including Chase Rice, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde, Brett Elredge and Jimmy Allen.

The UK contemporary country music scene is growing rapidly with album sales topping 1.9M in 2017; singles sales up by over 31% in the last six years; and an increasing live gig & festival scene. With a reported 8.7 million fans now listening to country music in the UK, it’s the biggest genre of music to have previously been without its own national radio station – until now!

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