Cumulus' Lew Dickey Explains Why NYC's New NASH-FM 'Is Good for Nashville' at CRS

New York’s new Cumulus-owned station, Nash FM, is far more than a local radio signal now capitalizing on the popularity of hot, youth-leaning country music.

Radio stations across the U.S. will have opportunities to affiliate with Nash as Cumulus builds its new brand into the Nash Network. In markets with two or more competing country stations, either you’re in and “Powered by Nash,” or you’re out.

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In a question and answer session Thursday at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, Lew Dickey, Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus,told the industry that “Nash is good for Nashville.”  He called Nash the “umbrella brand for all of our country products.” Dickey’s outline for Nash Entertainment includes Nash FM radio, event marketing like the recent three-night “Nash Bash” concert series in New York, Nash Magazine, and the Nash website.

In markets where a country station is already strongly branded as something other than “Nash,” such as WIVK in Knoxville, Dickey said the name “Nash” is not a “take it or leave it thing.” An affiliate station can take advantage of a number of promotional and sales opportunities without changing its name or position in the marketplace; using the tag-line “Powered By Nash.” Dickey said “it is really a darling format for media buyers... a mainstream format.”

He called the Nash brand “hip, fun, cool, and accessible for listeners and advertisers.”

Dickey said Cumulus will not only help to sell more country music in the New York area -- already the nation’s number one market for country music sales -- it will build the genre nation-wide. “We have a plan, and we’re attacking it,” said Dickey. He said eventually he’d like to see sponsorships like “the official truck of Nash” or “the official long distance carrier of Nash.”

When asked how the Nash brand might fly in Texas, a region proud of its music and roots as “non-Nashville,” Dickey noted that Cumulus owns both country stations in Dallas, and “I would disagree that Texans wouldn’t embrace the concept.”

Dickey has been touting the strength of the radio medium to the business press, and continued at the seminar in Nashville.

“Radio is going to be around for a long, long, time,” he said. “It’s the primary daytime medium for advertisers,” and because of in-car listening, “it’s the closest medium to the point of purchase.” Dickey called the country format one of the few “multi-generational formats” out there, with “sports probably the other one.” Country music attracts all age groups, and isn’t a genre that fans leave once they get older. “The beauty of that is that it’s a value proposition for business,” said Dickey, “it’s one of the things we like about it. We hope it doesn’t split. We’re making a very big bet on it.”

Dickey made a point to thank the Nashville music community, which rallied to help with Nash FM’s launch and its “Nash Bash” in New York; three nights of live music to make a splash for listeners and the advertising community.  “These artists came on their own dime,” said Dickey, “and it was amazing.”

Dickey added that the Nash Network will have strong Nashville music relationships.

“We are the promotional arm for the labels, period,” said Dickey, “We are the distribution arm to get this music played.”

He also noted that an incredible number of people have come “out of the woodwork with their resumes” interested in joining the company since its plans were announced.

For New York, Dickey revealed very little about the future air talent on Nash FM. When asked whether the new morning show will be local or national, like Clear Channel’s new “Bobby Bones show,” now in more than 30 markets, Dickey replied “I can’t say right now.”