Apparently 96.3 KSCS has been catching a bit of flak on their Facebook page over the whole mixing pop-hits-in-with-country thing, and they responded thusly:
Here’s what we’re doing…Pop selectively waits for something to explode on country and then benefits from the all the exposure and relevance that the country format has built for it (Taylor Swift, for example). If the audience that loves Taylor is forced to go to pop exclusively to find her, we’re hurting our chance of growing our radio station.
Weeeeell, here’s a crazy thought: Maybe they shouldn’t have been catering to Taylor Swift’s audience in the first place, or at least catered to it less and less as she went more pop. I would venture to say that many if not most Taylor Swift fans aren’t so much fans of country music as they are fans of Taylor Swift, i.e., “I don’t like country music but I like Taylor Swift.” I mean, like it or not, genres and radio formats are still a thing to a lot of people for perfectly legitimate reasons, and frankly, if you’re going to call your radio station a “country” station as you give airtime to the likes of Ed Sheeran and Kanye West instead of Sturgill Simpson and Aaron Watson, then you deserve to freeze in the dark with the buggy whip makers.
Surely it’s not as if any of that underground music would drive people away. KSCS never went as deep as 95.9 the Ranch or even 99.5 the Wolf when it came to the Texas music as that scene was on the rise back in the day, but I remember when they’d play folks like Pat Green and Robert Earl Keen every so often along with the classic country. (The old stuff was their thing, while 99.5 was more about the Texas music.) I really don’t know what would have changed, except for the demographic Cumulus is targeting with it.
Speaking of Cumulus, they own both KSCS and KPLX now. Which might explain the whole thing, I suppose, in that they want to differentiate one station from the other, but why not do it with actual country music that’s being left on the table as it is, as opposed to playing pop hits that everyone else is playing? Another friend of mine said it best:
“It blows my mind that there are actual executives in 2015 that are this dumb and short-sighted. In the digital age, this one-size-fits-all crap doesn’t fly in ANY market. It’s a niche world. If someone really wants to listen to Taylor or any other pop music, they don’t need you for that. They’re going to be able to do it on their own.
“The best thing you can do is find your own distinct and unique sound and then continue to build that brand with repetition and consistency. Spoiler alert: if you’re known as a country station, your best chance to succeed there is probably with country music and not trying to take well-established brands from elsewhere and somehow incorporate into some all-encompassing hybrid nonsense.
“Of course, all of that requires actual forward-thinking, and we know Corporate Country would rather chase the tails of whimsical teenyboppers. So… yeah.”