Scott Borchetta attends the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, 2016 in Las Vegas.

Scott Borchetta attends the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, 2016 in Las Vegas. 

Rick Diamond/ACM2016/Getty Images for dcp

It’s no secret that Scott Borchetta knows talent when he hears at. During his career at Big Machine, he has helped to make stars out of such acts as Taylor Swift, Justin Moore, and Brett Young. The veteran record executive will soon be putting his expertise to work once again with his participation in NASH Next 2017, a partnership with Cumulus Media.

The third annual grassroots national search for the nation’s newest star begins today in over 62 markets across the United States including Dallas, New York, Atlanta, Detroit and Nashville. Beginning today, local artists may enter the competition via the NASH Next website.

The winner of this five-month-long national competition will receive a record deal with NASH Next Records under the Big Machine Label Group. The NASH Next 2017 winner will receive substantial exposure, commensurate with a major label release, on Cumulus radio stations nationwide. While television boasts several talent competitions, no other contest -- on any platform -- has ever offered its winners a similar opportunity for coveted radio play, which is the most effective medium to cultivate an artist and propel a major music career.

“I can't think of a better way to inspire and discover up and coming talent than through local Country radio,” said Garth Brooks, who will announce the launch of the contest.

Seventy-nine NASH/Cumulus stations in 62 markets will conduct local searches, with significant national participation made possible by Cumulus’ digital properties and syndicated country shows. Last year’s winner, Todd O’Neill, is watching as his current single, “Love Again,” climbs the Country Airplay chart, currently sitting at No. 47.

“This whole experience has been truly incredible,” remarked O’Neill. “There is honestly no way to describe what it’s like when you hear your first single played on the radio or when you see your name on the Country music charts... It’s what makes this program stand out from all others.”

Borchetta will be judging the contest, along with American Country Countdown host Kix Brooks, of Brooks & Dunn fame. “I’m always on the hunt for great new talent and there’s arguably no better way to do it than through Country Radio,” said Borchetta. “NASH Next provides the Big Machine Label Group an incredible opportunity to have our eyes and ears on the ground in all of the great Cumulus Country radio markets. If you want to be next, enter now. Game on…”

Beginning today (May 31), local artists may enter the competition via the NASH Next website, participating local station websites and NashCountryDaily.com. Three local music industry professionals, as well as listeners in their communities will judge each competitor’s original song. Local markets will then host local live events or select their finalist by judging the contestants in a video performance of that original song.

Local winners will move on to the national challenge, submitting a live performance video showcasing their best original song, with the top ten artists selected by country music industry professionals. Those national finalists will then compete at a live concert event, hosted in Nashville in early November, where the panel of celebrity judges will select the NASH Next 2017 winner. Partnering with Cumulus and BMLG will be Country Inn and Suites by Carlson once again to sponsor the contest. Cumulus is looking forward to finding some bright new talent for the Country format.

“NASH Next 2016 brought us a potentially great artist whose in-person performances and on-air presence shows him on a trajectory for stardom.,” said Mike McVay, Executive Vice President, Content & Programming, Cumulus Media, Inc. “NASH Next 2017 gives the next woman or man the opportunity of a lifetime. This competition makes for a great career and great radio.”