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American Country Countdown
GenreMusic chart show
Running timeApprox. 3 hrs. and 55 mins. (including commercials)
Country of originUnited States
Language(s)English
Home stationKIXB-CM
Hosted byDon Bowman (1973–1978)
Bob Kingsley (1978–2005)
Kix Brooks (2006–present)
Created byCasey Kasem, Don Bustany, and Tom Rounds
Produced byCumulus Media Networks
Original releaseOctober 6, 1973 –
present
No. of episodesApproximately 2,150
Audio formatStereophonic sound
Websiteacctop40.com

American Country Countdown, also known as ACC, is a weekly internationally syndicated radio program which counts down the top 40 country songs of the previous week, from No. 40 to No. 1, according to the Billboard Country Airplay chart. The program premiered in 1973 and as of January 2006 is hosted by Kix Brooks. It is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.

History

American Country Countdown was conceived as a spinoff program from American Top 40 (AT40), which had premiered in 1970 and showcased the week's most popular singles. The new program was a creation of Casey Kasem and Don Bustany, the same duo behind AT40, with Tom Rounds as co-creator and Watermark Inc. distributing. "In 1969, when Casey Kasem and I were planning 'American Top 40,' we said, 'Hey, if this works, we can do a country countdown, an MOR countdown, a whatever countdown,'" Rounds explained to Radio & Records magazine as to the show's conception. However, it was not until 1973 that the AT40 team thought there was sufficient support for a nationally syndicated program.[1]

American Country Countdown launched nationwide on October 6, 1973. Like with its parent series, Billboard provided the chart information; in this case, the Hot Country Singles chart was used. Beginning in the late 2000s, the show used charts compiled by Mediabase, and in September 2017 it switched to using the Billboard Country Airplay chart.[2]

Singer Don Bowman was the first host of the countdown, which was originally three hours long. Bustany was the producer, Hugh Cherry was the head writer, and Bowman was also a writer. There was editing help from Bustany, who was the head writer and producer of AT40.[3]

In June 1974, Bustany stepped aside from his duties in order to focus on AT40 and tapped Bob Kingsley, who had been program director at country station KLAC-Los Angeles, to be ACC's producer.[4] It was under Kingsley's watch that the program began to increase in popularity, as more and more stations picked up the countdown.

On May 6, 1978, Kingsley took on the added responsibility of hosting ACC. Don Bowman had not made any mention that he would be departing the program on the previous show; Kingsley informed the audience that Bowman had left the program to pursue other aspects of his career.[5]

The show grew slowly, with fewer than 100 stations the first year before passing the 300-affiliate mark in 1980.[6]

Beginning with the broadcast on January 11, 1986, ACC was expanded to four hours, adding several new features, including an "ACC Archives" feature (similar to one featured on American Top 40 several years earlier, with a chronological playback of No. 1 hits of the 1970s, and later, the 1980s) and an "ACC Calendar", spotlighting an artist, song, important innovation, or event in country music.[7]

Kingsley hosted the program until December 2005, with his last show being a regular countdown airing Christmas weekend. Like Bowman before him, he never told the audience he would be leaving; in this instance, Kingsley was leaving to host the new Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40. After three weeks of substitute hosts, Brooks assumed the hosting duties as of January 21, 2006, a job he's held since.

Awards ceremony

The Fox Network's awards ceremony, American Country Awards, which started in 2010, was cancelled and replaced by the American Country Countdown Awards in 2014.

The ratings for ACCA dropped dramatically compared to the 2013 American Country Awards. According to TV By The Numbers,[8] 18-49 ratings/share dropped from 1.4/4 to 0.9/3 and viewership dropped from 5.14 million to 3.39 million.

ACC specials

ACC broadcasts several special programs throughout the year. The most notable include:

Other special programs, usually centering on a theme or to promote a much-anticipated album that was about to go on sale, air throughout the year. Past specials have paid homage to the West, presented unusual or notable chart facts and performer accomplishments, counted down the top acts of all time, profiled a performer, and presented the top female and male singers of the past decade.

Reairing of older shows

In April 2015, Nash FM, the media brand and network of country music stations owned by Cumulus Media, announced it would begin re-airing classic ACC programs from the Kingsley era, starting the weekend of May 2. The show, featuring programs originally aired between 1990 and 2005, was three hours in length (for four-hour programs, the first hour wasn't included).[9][10]

The first aired ACC Rewind program featured an ACC show which originally aired May 1, 1993. The final program, a re-airing of the 1999 year-end countdown, aired the weekend of December 28, 2019.

Awards

ACC was named Billboard magazine's "Network/Syndicated Program of the Year: Country" from 1987 to 2002. Kingsley twice won the Country Music Association's National Broadcast Personality of the Year award (in 2001 and 2003).

Worldwide syndication

When ACC premiered in October 1973, it aired on just 45 stations. Today, the show is heard on more than 1,000 radio stations in the United States and worldwide, and can be heard on the Armed Forces Radio Network. In the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, it aired in the United Kingdom and Ireland on Downtown Radio,[11] Two Counties Radio,[12] the medium wave service of Mercia Sound,[13] Xtra AM,[14] Scot FM,[15] South East Radio in Wexford[16] and Ritz Country 1035 in London.[17]

ACC is produced and distributed by Cumulus Media Networks. Since 2007, the program has been distributed via Cumulus's "Today's Best Country" network and, since 2013, on most Nash FM stations as well. Tom Rounds's syndication company, Radio Express, distributes the program to radio stations outside the United States.

References

  1. ^ Helton, Lon, "A Tale Of Two Countdowns," Radio & Records, September 30, 1983, pg. 66-68. Retrieved December 17, 2019. [1]
  2. ^ "American Country Countdown Returns to Billboard Chart".
  3. ^ Helton, Lon, "A Tale Of Two Countdowns," Radio & Records, September 30, 1983, pg. 66-68. Retrieved December 17, 2019. [2]
  4. ^ Hall, Claude, "Vox Jox," Billboard, June 15, 1974. Via Google Books, Retrieved April 24, 2015. [3]
  5. ^ American Country Countdown radio broadcast, May 6, 1978.
  6. ^ Helton, Lon, "A Tale Of Two Countdowns," Radio & Records, September 30, 1983, pg. 66-68. Retrieved December 17, 2019. [4]
  7. ^ Ginsburg, Janice, "Syndicators as innovators," Billboard, March 8, 1986, page C-3. Retrieved April 26, 2015. [5]
  8. ^ TV by the Numbers
  9. ^ "NASH Icon Partners With Bob Kingsley For ACC-Rewind," Media Confidential, April 17, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015.[6]
  10. ^ "NASH To Launch 'American Country Countdown Rewind With Bob Kingsley'," All Access, April 17, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2015.[7]
  11. ^ Belfast Telegraph listings in the British Newspaper Archive, 17 August & 14 September 1982
  12. ^ Western Gazette listings in the BNA, 21 February-28 November 1986
  13. ^ Hinckley Times listings in the BNA, 29 July-9 December 1988
  14. ^ Sandwell Evening Mail, 30 March 1991
  15. ^ The Courier, 10 February 1996
  16. ^ Sunday World, 18 April 1999
  17. ^ Evening Standard listings on Newspapers.com, 24 December 1999 and 22 & 29 December 2000

Further reading