Kenny Chesney's 'No Shoes' Radio Moves from the Internet to the Satellite

Kenny Chesney
Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Kenny Chesney performs during the 2010 BamaJam Music & Arts Festival on June 5, 2010 in Enterprise, Alabama. 

It was a station made for online radio. A superstar country artist with a broad following exercising his own broad tastes. Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Radio has been one of the more enduring names in Internet radio. Its eight-year run would be a significant one in any FM radio market.

But on April 12, No Shoes Radio is leaving Internet radio for satellite radio. On March 29, SiriusXM announced that the service will move to Sirius XM Channel 62, a currently unoccupied spot adjacent to Sirius XM’s suite of country channels. The move returns No Shoes to where it was created as one of the then-XM Satellite Radio’s many pop-up channels. Now, it joins more than a dozen artist-focused channels ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Tiesto to Eminem.

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Until recently, No Shoes Radio was featured on the iHeart Radio platform and heard on the HD-2 channels of iHeart Media’s WSIX Nashville and KNIX Phoenix. Because it was nominally a broadcast channel, it didn’t face the restrictions and copyright issues of many standalone Webcasters. A statement by Chesney, through Sirius XM, says the move is motivated primarily by reaching "even more people who love [the eclectic mix of] songs and music the same way I do."

But the move says a lot about the state of both Internet and satellite radio. It comes at a time when many individual Internet broadcasters say they are pondering their future as a result of a February Copyright Royalty Board decision. Many Internet broadcasters have valid specialty formats that should be viable international franchises, once untethered from the burden of having to find enough audience in any single market. But it’s hard for an individual Webcaster to become a national brand. Even last year’s flurry of publicity for Apple Music’s Beats 1 seems like a distant memory now.

Instead, it’s been Sirius XM’s national platform that has given niche formats traction throughout North America. Sirius XM has been a potent enough distribution channel that Radio Disney was able to give up most of its AM radio signals (although it hasn’t left Internet radio as No Shoes is doing). It not only made ‘70s Soft Rock a national format on "The Bridge," for a while, it made a subset of that music into a national phenomenon on its "Yacht Rock" channel.  

When No Shoes Radio was launched eight years ago, the youth and breadth of Chesney’s audience was still an unusual site at country music concerts. Now the eclectic music that plays between acts at a country concert isn’t just a format for Chesney; it has popped up on the FM band at Charleston, W. Va.’s Tailgate 107.3 FM. And the whole concept of formats built around mood service, not a genre of music, has become a staple of Internet radio services.

The mix on No Shoes Radio isn’t expected to change on Sirius XM. It still steers away from competing with mainstream country radio -- enough so that No Shoes Radio often does joint remotes with local country stations from Chesney concerts. Here’s No Shoes Radio at 11 a.m. ET on March 30.

Eagles, "Wasted Time (Live)"

Bob Marley & Wailers, "Roots, Rock, Reggae"

Kenny Chesney, "Noise"

Usher, "Yeah!"

AC/DC, "There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin'"

Toots & the Maytalls, "Pressure Drop"

Kenny Chesney, "Got A Little Crazy (Live)"

Bryan Adams, "Can’t Stop This Thing We Started"

Michael Franti & Spearhead, "Life Is Better With You"

Doc Watson, "Deep River Blues"

Kenny Chesney, "Spirit of a Storm"

Tom Petty, "Running Down A Dream (Live)"

Steve Miller Band, "Hey Yeah"

Colin Hay, "Down Under (Acoustic Version)"

Kenny Chesney, "Rise Up"

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, "Ulili E"

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