Radio Plays - America Drinks and Prays

Devils Juice

Photo by elventear — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Want a quick snapshot of a nation? Want a quick and easy way to define a people and their time period?

Think about the sculpture of ancient Greece; architecture of the Roman empire; the library of Alexandria; the literature of Mitteleurope; tango in Argentina; or, the poetry of Russia.

On our daily feed of culture news, an item posted this week might be the best snapshot, the quickest and easiest way to define today’s America: radio play.

According to Inside Radio, from M Street publications, Country Music and Talk Radio dominate the number of radio stations in the country.

Of course, country music and talk radio play essentially the same song, a tale of woe: my woman left me and it’s the fault of the Democrats in Congress.

What is most startling, though, about the M Street list is the order of popularity of America’s music stations.

Even though American pop music would appear to be the biggest international business, the biggest players in U.S. radio stations are Country and Christian music. Country and Christian music dominate the radio stations in the U.S.

This year, twenty-three new Christian music stations came on the air. Spanish stations grew the most, with ninety-seven new stations.

There are now three times more Christian music stations than there are Rock stations.

The list of radio station genres, sorted by number of music stations:

Country 2,054
News/Talk 2,026
Religion (Teaching, Variety) 1,219
Contemporary Christian 920
Spanish 917
Oldies 744
Variety 671
Adult Contemporary 666*
Sports 571
Top 40 495
Classic Hits 494
Classic Rock 456
Hot AC 392
Alternative Rock 385
Adult Standards 378
Southern Gospel 316
Rock 300
Black Gospel 270
Soft Adult Contemporary 243
Classical 176
Modern Rock 175
Urban AC 161
R&B 157
Jazz 153
Ethnic 133
Pre-Teen 57
R&B Adult/Oldies 41
Gospel 40
Easy Listening 29
Rhythmic AC 27
Modern AC 20

Talk radio has 2,026 stations, a number which has increased by 500 over the last ten years. (Bill Clinton was obviously not only good for the economy, but also for talk radio.)

Don’t you think these numbers provide a clear understanding of America today?

Want to learn about America? Forget Hollywood, listen to the Radio.

- Bill Reichblum

* Note here the connection between this number of stations and the fact that some still call this the “devil’s music.” Conspiracy or coincidence, you decide.

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