With respect to the content of the report below, from a stylistic standpoint, I think contemporary country music differs from much adult contemporary and mainstream pop radio only in detail. It's usually still got a bit of a twang, nowadays, but a lot of it rocks pretty hard. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I really like radio and always have, but I usually prefer the offbeat to the mainstream. There is so much repetition on most music stations and a lot of the music that is most popular is aesthetically repulsive to me.
Typically, I like to listen to a couple of the local college stations because they are eclectic and less professionally programmed. I also like WTTS 93.2 FM, which serves the Indy area and only just reaches our area. They have an interesting, non-corporate driven playlist that is always fresh. They even have a show hosted by a guy, Phil the Listener, who is actually not a professional DJ, but just a guy. He plays whatever he likes. That would be great fun, wouldn't it?
But I digress, here's the article:
NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Country is still king when it comes to radio, but news/talk is closing the gap.
As of October, there were 2,054 country stations in the United States, which is up slightly from 2,049 a year earlier, according to M Street, which tracks such statistics. News/talk stations now total 2,026, an increase of 18 from a year ago. The number of news/talk stations has increased by nearly 500 in the past 10 years -- there were 1,567 in 1997. Country, by comparison, has lost more than 450 stations during the same time period.
Among current music-driven formats, country is tops, followed by contemporary Christian stations (920), Spanish (917), adult contemporary (666) and top 40 (495). Contemporary Christian stations are on the rise, up from 897 a year ago, as are Spanish-language stations, which tallied 819 at this time in 2006. AC is essentially flat, while top 40 is down 15 stations from a year ago.
Other formats that number more than 300 stations include "hot" adult contemporary (up eight stations to 392), alternative rock (basically flat at 385 stations), Southern gospel (up 15 from last year to 316) and rock (up nine stations to 300).
M Street began tracking rhythmic adult contemporary, a relatively new format that plays everything from Akon to Bee Gees and Michael Jackson to Janet Jackson, earlier this year and counts 27 mostly large-market stations in the format.
Reuters/Billboard - Friday 12/14/07