Several years ago, Josh Schott started a weekly feature on the now-defunct Country Perspective blog that asked a simple question: Based on Billboard’s country airplay charts, just how good (or bad) is country radio at this very moment? In the spirit of the original feature, I decided to try my hand at evaluating the state of the radio myself.
The methodology is as follows: Each song that appears is assigned a score based on its review score. 0/10 songs get the minimum score (-5), 10/10 songs get the maximum (+5), and so on. The result (which can range from +250 to -250) gives you an idea of where things stand on the radio.
This week’s official numbers are from Country Aircheck’s weekly chart table (because Mediabase’s official PDF is unavailable for some reason). Without further ado, let’s crunch some numbers!
Best Song: “Burn Out,” 10/10
Worst Song: “One That Got Away,” 1/10
Mode Score: 0 (14 songs)
- Scotty McCreery, “This Is It” (recurrent)
- Midland, “Burn Out” (made a massive push to go from #6 to #2, “thank you country radio!” ad in Country Aircheck this week)
- Jordan Davis, “Take It From Me” (down from #1 to #4)
- Luke Bryan, “What Makes You Country” (down from #4 to #9)
- Chris Stapleton, “Millionaire” (#3 after 45 weeks)
- Tyler Rich, “The Difference” (#20 after 44 weeks, lost its bullet this week)
- Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” (#23 after 43 weeks)
In Real Trouble:
- Rascal Flatts, “Back To Life” (down from #33 to #34, gained only thirty-three spins and 88 points this week)
In Some Trouble:
- Carrie Underwood, “Love Wins” (holds at #12, but gained only sixty-six spins and seventy-one points, and hasn’t looked strong recently)
- Kacey Musgraves, “Rainbow” (down from #39 to #41, gained only sixty spins and eighty-one points, and her relationship with radio has never been great)
- Chris Lane, “I Don’t Know About You” (down from #44 to #48, gained only fifty-one spins and 134 points, and was passed by five songs)
- Dylan Schneider, “How Does It Sound” (down from #49 to #50, lost its bullet, and sounds like it’s going to get run over by “REDNECKER” next week)
In No Trouble At All:
- Thomas Rhett, “Look What God Gave Her” (instead of regressing to the mean, it went up from #29 to #24)
- Jason Aldean, “Rearview Town” (up to #47)
- Dan + Shay, “All To Myself” (up from #47 to #42)
Is Luke Combs:
- Luke Combs, “Beautiful Crazy” (up from #2 to #1, likely to stay there another week)
Bubbling Under 50:
- HARDY, “REDNECKER” (2/10) (*sigh*)
- Ashley McBryde, “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” (8/10)
- Dierks Bentley, “Living” (7/10)
On The Way:
- Ryan Hurd, “To A T” (5/10)
- Chris Janson, “Good Vibes” (4/10)
- Zac Brown Band, “Someone I Used To Know” (6/10)
- Kip Moore, “The Bull” (3/10)
- King Calaway, “World For Two” (5/10)
Overall Thoughts: It seems that as the temperature rises this year, so too does the quality of the airwaves.
Luke Combs assumes his rightful position at #1 this week, and with Midland bowing out and Stapleton as least another week away, Combs will likely hold his position for another week (bringing him to a month on top of Billboard’s chart). The bigger story for me, however, is the second straight week of positive movement in the Pulse: Even with the loss of a half-decent song like McCreery’s, the Pulse continues moving in the right direction thanks to Aldean’s solid offering and an at-worst tolerable Thomas Rhett tune. Midland’s imminent departure and HARDY’s imminent arrival will screw things up next week, but on the flip side we’ll also lose Jordan Davis soon, and maybe Ashley McBryde will finally break into the Top 50 as well. For the first time in a while, I’m feeling strongly optimistic about the state of the radio going forward.
So what do you think? Are the numbers better or worse than you expected? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!