A new digital radio station playing country music will launch on DAB digital radio next month.
Country Hits Radio will play pop country music by artists including Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, The Shires, Lady Antebellum and Florida Georgia Line. Presenters hosting programmes on the station include Baylen Leonard, Ty Bentli, and Una Healy.
According to the station, the “UK contemporary country music scene is growing rapidly”. It also points to country album sales topping 1.9M in 2017 and the popularity of live gigs and country music festivals.
The station says its playlist will appeal to modern country music-lovers aged 25-44. Country music radio host Baylen Leonard, who has hosted programmes on the BBC, is joining the station for a daily weekday show. He was recently named International Country Broadcaster at the 2019 CMA International Awards. Nashville’s Ty Bentli will share the best music and news from the US country scene Monday to Friday. Singer-songwriter Una Healy (The Saturdays, The Voice of Ireland) will also join the station for a weekend show.
The new station is the third digital country music radio station to launch in the UK. Chris Country is available in North East Wales & West Cheshire, Suffolk, Cambridge, Glasgow, Manchester, Norwich, Portsmouth and London. Downtown Radio’s sister station Downtown Country is available in Northern Ireland.
Country Hits Radio is the latest digital station to launch in the UK this year. Greatest Hits Radio, Virgin Radio Chilled, Virgin Radio Anthems and Scala Radio have all commenced broadcasting in 2019. Country Hits Radio will be based in Manchester.
BBC Radio 2 has previously launched a pop-up country radio station during the C2C: Country to Country festival.
The new station is available from 5th April on DAB digital radio, apps, smart speakers and online. A new website has been launched at www.countryhitsradio.co.uk.