John Rich Calls Out Country Radio: “Your Local Country Station Is Anything But ‘Local’ These Days”

John Rich country music

Add John Rich to the list of artists that are fed up with country radio.

The disdain for mainstream country radio, the Nashville music machine, and even the country music industry as a whole, is nothing new.

Some artists choose to remain independent, with zero participation in the Nashville country music industry, some stay on the fringes, or maybe sign a record deal with the non-Nashville parent label, and others, heavily rely on Nashville and country radio for the lifeblood of their career.

But in the past decade, we’ve heard everybody from Loretta Lynn, Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, Martina McBride, Tom Petty and more, call out the radio format on one way or another. And we’ve also heard the likes of Tyler Childers, Cody Jinks, and Sturgill Simpson, lament the state of the industry and even Nashville itself.

And yesterday Big & Rich’s John Rich took to Twitter to call out the conglomerate structure of country radio, essentially calling “local” radio a farce.

“Your local country station is anything but ‘local’ these days.

They’re dictated to by a few conglomerates who bought them up years ago. You hear who/what you hear based on the leanings of a select group of big corp elites, who are the farthest thing from Patriotic middle America.”

And of course, he isn’t wrong.

Save for a handful of truly independent stations, most of country radio is owned by iHeart, Cumulus, Audacy or Townsquare Media.

And with the way many of them have consolidated on-air talent, many local morning shows have disappeared in favor of a single, nationally broadcasted morning show.

All of that being said, does it matter anymore?

Sure, country radio is still a qualification for the meaningless awards shows, and still gives a ton of exposure to artists that otherwise might not have much of an audience on their own.

But if we’ve seen anything from the independent scene lately, it’s that you 100% don’t need radio to have a successful career in country music.

Tyler Childers has a Double Platinum single in that of “Feathered Indians” to go along with his Gold and Platinum records. Cody Jinks and Whiskey Myers have also earned multiple Platinum singles.

Zach Bryan, Koe Wetzel, Pecos & the Rooftops, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Josh Abbott, even the great Wheeler Walker Jr. have achieved Gold and/or Platinum certification with minimal, if any, mainstream country radio play.

So yeah, John is right… is your local radio station not really your “local” radio station anymore.

But… the good news is you don’t have to rely solely on country radio to give you your music anymore

In the meantime, I’ll be over here listening to Zach Bryan who

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock