Beats 1 Launches Weekly 'Today's Country' Show With Kelleigh Bannen: Exclusive

Kelleigh Bannen
John Shearer

Kelleigh Bannen

Following the relaunch of its "Today’s Country" playlist on last Friday, Beats 1 will bow a new weekly radio show of the same name beginning Nov. 15 and hosted by singer-songwriter Kelleigh Bannen. The debut episode will feature guests  Lady Antebellum and Luke Combs.

Today’s Country will highlight artists and music from the continually updated Today’s Country playlist, which will focus on songs from artists in the heart of the country scene to ones on the fringes. 

“The Today’s Country playlist is our jumping-off point and it’s an exciting place to start, but the team at Beats 1 and Apple Music have really encouraged me to find ways to support things I’m personally passionate about, as well as add segments that highlight what is so special about Nashville and our music community,” Bannen tells Billboard. 

That means using the show as a platform to highlight female artists, many of whom struggle to get airplay on mainstream country radio.

“I have an advantage. My perspective as a woman who’s been caught up in this disparity makes it impossible for me to not talk about it, advocate for it and celebrate the very best music coming out of Nashville -- a lot of which just happens to be made by women,” Bannen says. “Also, thankfully the Today’s Country playlist already has a track record of a much healthier gender break down than the status quo.” 

The rebranded Today’s Country Playlist formerly went by A-List: Country. 

Beats 1 celebrates the premiere of Bannen’s show Tuesday (Nov. 12) with a special live broadcast in Nashville with Bannen and Apple Music global creative director and Beats 1 host Zane Lowe.

The move follows Beats 1’s rollout of playlists and partner shows in other genres, including the Rap Life playlist and Rap Life With Ebro Darden, which started Oct. 18, and danceXL playlist and danceXL With Anna Lunoe, Nov. 8.  

Lowe began hosting New Music Daily -- which airs, despite the name, weekly -- on Oct. 25 with guests Taylor SwiftSelena Gomez and Coldplay’s Chris Martin. It is an extension of the New Music Daily playlist. 

Apple has been planning Today’s Country for months as it continues to expand its country music offerings. In 2018, iTunes head of U.S. and artist relations Jay Liepis moved to Nashville to run the Music City office. 

Bannen will continue to host her bi-weekly podcast, This Nashville Life.