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One-man radio station now has 35,000 listeners

By James Cridland for media.info
Posted 28 October 2016, 4.37am edt

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When Chris Stevens returned home to the UK after a spell working in Dallas, he missed one thing more than anything else - the music. While country music is the most popular music genre in much of the US, when he returned to the UK he discovered that it was hard to find a radio station that broadcast the kind of music he wanted to hear.

So, he made one.

He put "Chris Country" online in 2012 - and earlier this year, the station became available in parts of the country on DAB Digital Radio.

It's been available in London since March, and the first radio listening figures have just been published that include Chris Country's figures.

Those figures reveal that in London, 35,000 listeners tune into Chris Country every week; and each listen for an average of 8.2 hours a week. 8.2 is a very high figure for a digital-exclusive station: the most popular digital station, Kisstory, only achieves 5.5 hours a week.

The figures don't include other areas where Chris Country is available, like the Suffolk multiplex and a number of smaller trial multiplexes in Manchester, Portsmouth and Cambridge; as well, of course, as nationally-available apps.

The station now has a number of presenters and syndicated programming.

New technology has made it easier to launch new stations at a fraction of the cost. Chris Country shows the future of radio really can be as simple as someone with a passion.

Press release

Digital radio station Chris Country is celebrating its first set of official audience figures. The numbers show that 35,000 people tune in to the station every week across London, each listening for an average of 8.2 hours, delivering over a quarter of a million listening hours.

Following its London launch in March, Chris Country has been playing a mix of popular country artists 24/7, including Lady Antebellum, The Shires, Ward Thomas and Shania Twain, as well as interviewing the biggest names in the country music scene.

The audience figures, from the industry body RAJAR, highlight that Chris Country has one of the most loyal music radio station audiences in London. The station scored higher average hours of listening than most music stations in the market including Classic FM, Heart, Capital, Magic and Smooth.

Chris Country’s Programme Director Chris Stevens is delighted: “Although we knew there was a strong appetite for country music in the UK, we’re thrilled with our numbers, just months into being on air in London. Of course, we know our audience is even bigger when you consider that we don't survey our other Digital Radio broadcast areas of Suffolk, Cambridge, Portsmouth and Central Manchester.”

US country singers Maddie And Tae, who are touring the UK this week (and are pictured above), said "It's great to see fans enjoying the country scene in the UK, and big congratulations to Chris Country on their audience figures - we're so fortunate for fans that love country music in the states, and it's so exciting that London is also loving country music. Congratulations Chris and team!"

Chris added: “Our figures prove that once people discover country music, they really enjoy it. We’re looking forward to welcoming many more listeners over the coming months.”

More information

James Cridland — James is the Managing Director of media.info, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. His website is at james.cridland.net, where you can subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
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