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The Planet Country Story - Part I: Getting In To Country

Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on October 31, 2018 at 10:10 AM

We often discuss this in parts on the show but have never really recorded the full history of the show and ourselves. I thought I should finally put pen to paper... or is that keyboard to screen? and tell you all how Big Stu and I got in to country and how Planet Country came to be.

This is Part I, how we got in to country music and the lead up to our first show on air.

It started back around 2010-ish. I was in the middle of high school and Big Stu, my dad*, was obsessed with camping.

*Its surprising how many don't realise he is my dad. I mean we look alike and sound a like. Plus I'm more than half his age.

On our way home from a camping adventure either up the coast or the down the coast (there are only two types of holidays in Australia! You're either going up... or going down!) and the family stopped off at a small cafe or bakery of some sorts in a small town along the journey home. There my dad spotted a poster for CMC Rocks The Snowy's.

Always with an interest in music, my dad was curios to see what all the fuss was about with country music and the CMC channel on Foxtel. He was vaguely aware that country music had evolved since the days of Slim, Foster & Allen and all the country & WESTERN! artists my grandmother to this day won't stop playing.

Upon our return home he flicked on Foxtel and found CMC in the electronic tv guide. Then for the next two years I was subjected to torture!
That's right, I was not a country fan at first.

You see at the time CMC was much heavier on the traditional and Australiana sound. As a prodiminately classic rock fan trying to keep up with the latest pop or hip-hop trends that my classmates enjoyed, I just couldn't get into the country sound or lyrics. There were a few exceptions: Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins*, Big & Rich and of course Keith Urban! To me there was nothing else like them being played on CMC at the time.

*Honkey Tonk Badonkadonk. That is all. I was a teenage boy and that music video was perfection.

In fairness to Tim and the team behind CMC, the industry itself was on the verge of an even bigger revolution. A new sound had just been popularised in the US and had set sail for Australia. The sound I was looking for, that belonged alongside the few artists mentioned above, was out there and on its way. Until it arrived Big Stu would continuesly put CMC on and listen along. Unless Keith came on the family was pretty much uninterested. Big Stu was looking for a new sound to get into but hadn't quite found it yet. There were a few stand out artists that were in regular rotation that I too enjoyed. My first country gig was Victoria Bailey and later followed by Kaylens Rain and The McClymonts. I really enjoyed the gigs and the music but I wasn't yet ready to call myself a country fan. Big Stu was looking for a new sound, I was supporting my Dad's new interest. In a funny twist of fate, New Country was discovered through me and this will sound cliche but the sound literally found me!

Very late one night a couple of years after Big Stu saw that poster, early 2013 to be exact, I was on my phone listening to music. I had a student budget so free streaming on Pandora was the go. All I could do was tell it to play songs from and similar to Brad Paisley. So that's what I told it to do.

A few songs into the 'Brad Paisley' radio playlist, something completely different caught my ear. It was 'Cruise' by Florida Georgia Line. Back then it was brand new and had just started to go viral on radio in America. As soon as I heard it I was hooked, it was the perfect sound to bring me into country music. A sound that was the perfect blend of country and the rock I was familiar with and had lyrics that a young man could relate to and party to.

I don't remember how I fell asleep that night but I know it was very late. I stayed up listening to more and more songs like Cruise after telling Pandora to play their Florida Georgia Line radio playlists. I think my mental music library grew by 100 songs or more that night. At the same time I was jumping over to YouTube and playing Cruise a million more times.

As soon as I woke up the next day (probably in the afternoon), I raced to the other side of the house where Big Stu was working on his computer. I think I said something like 'hey you need to listen to this new song' and that was it. I plugged me phone into a set of speakers we had and started playing Cruise on the YouTube app. Big Stu looked straight up at me with a huge smile and was instantly blown away by the sound.

I think he said something like "This is country!".

For all you New Country-haters out there, noticed the exclimation mark not a question mark!

Like myself during the night, my Dad was instantly hooked by this song. I went on to play a few more songs I had heard and he knew I found what he was looking for when he first saw that CMC Rocks The Snowy's poster years before.

Throughout the year we kept discovering more and more songs like Cruise. Some had been out for a while, Eric Church's Springstein for example. Others had been released not long after I first heard Cruise. We were country fans.... albeit not proudly.

The new sound was still on its way to Australia. CMC was slowly picking up the songs were had already been jamming to. We started to see Cruise, Springstein and a few others but everytime we turned on the channel we knew we would have to sit and wait through 5 to 10 songs before hearing the new sound we liked. Interestingly, I observed my Dad's curiosity and interest in what was being played on CMC quickly turn to frustration as what he wanted to see wasn't being played.

We quickly discovered local media was either too slow to pick up this new sound or was flat out ignoring it. This pushed us to look elsewhere. Sparked by the question 'what are we missing out on?', I begun streaming American country music radio. Eventually discovering 93.5 The Wolf in Evansville, Indiana.

Big Stu and I would stream this station non-stop. Hearing new releases and recent hits that fit this new sound. Most importantly we discovered the new sound had a name, 93.5 The Wolf had a clear format: New Country.

By 2014 we had found ourselves on a mission, to bring New Country to Australia. We had seen on CMC that we had New Country artists in Australia but no media outlet to fully support them. In the next part of this series I will share how Big Stu and I created Planet Country and got started in radio, the later dating back to before I was born.


Part II: Launching On Radio - Coming soon.

Matthew 'MJ' Brokenbrough
Co-everything and a whole lot more at Planet Country radio show.

Categories: Radio Show News, Blog & Entertainment

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