Several years ago, Josh Schott started a weekly feature on the 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 numbers are from the latest version of Country Aircheck, but I’m going to link to their archives since I never remember to update this from week to week. Without further ado, let’s crunch some numbers!
Best Song: “Wait In The Truck,” 8/10
Worst Song: “Fall In Love,” 2/10
- Ingrid Andress & Sam Hunt, “Wishful Drinking” (recurrent)
- Russell Dickerson ft. Jake Scott, “She Likes It” (recurrent)
- Thomas Rhett ft. Riley Green, “Half Of Me” (down from #1 to #2)
- Tyler Hubbard, “5 Foot 9” (down from #2 to #4)
- Brett Young, “You Didn’t” (up from #16 to #15 with a mediocre week, will get run over by Combs next week)
- Dillon Carmichael, “Son Of A” (up from #36 to #34 with a relatively strong week; could this thing actually have some life left?)
In Real Trouble:
- Chris Stapleton, “Joy Of My Life” (down from #23 to #24, lost its bullet again, and is threatening to join the zombie list again)
- Dan + Shay, “You” (holds at #31, but gained only twenty-one spins and twenty-nine points)
In Some Trouble:
- Blake Shelton, “No Body” (down from #20 to #21, gained only forty-two spins and 104 points, and feels like it’s hit a wall recently)
- Kenny Chesney & Old Dominion, “Beer With My Friends” (holds at #32, but gained only twenty spins and twelve points, and has had a really inconsistent run so far)
- Eric Church, “Doing Life With Me” (up from #41 to #39, but gained only twelve spins and sixty-one points)
- Dylan Scott, “Can’t Have Mine (Find You A Girl)” (up from #46 to #45, but gained only twelve spins and fifteen points)
- Elle King ft. Dierks Bentley, “Worth A Shot” (up from #48 to #46, but gained only eighteen spins and forty points)
In No Trouble At All:
- Morgan Wallen, “Thought You Should Know” (up from #25 to #20)
Bubbling Under 50:
- Toby Keith, “Oklahoma Breakdown”
- Easton Corbin, “I Can’t Decide”
- Midland ft. Jon Pardi, “Longneck Way To Go” (6/10)
- Maren Morris, “I Can’t Love You Anymore”
- Kylie Morgan, “If He Wanted To He Would”
On The Way:
- Kelsea Ballerini, “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too)”
- Russell Dickerson, “God Gave Me A Girl”
- Tyler Hubbard, “Dancin’ In The Country”
Overall Thoughts: This is a bit of a strange week, as spins ended up being fairly tight despite no major debuts, two significant losses from exiting songs, and only two songs gaining over 600 spins. True, Dean’s 1600+ spin push to take #1 is the biggest summit push we’ve seen in a while, but I’m wondering if there were some other factors at play: Did stations change their playlists for the Thanksgiving holiday, or are some starting to work in their holiday songs now that the turkey has been consumed? While there are still a few songs set to debut this year, I expect things to remain pretty chill around here for the rest of year, and the holidays ramp up and labels prepare for their 2023 rollouts.
On the coronavirus front, the data is a little spotty due to the holiday, but the trend appears to be more of the same, with national new case numbers staying flat (that double-digit % spike in deaths is concerning though). The buzzword right now, however, is…well, we’re still deciding between “tridemic” and “tripledemic”: COVID-19 has yet to surge as we’ve expected, but our flu numbers are spiking right now, and RSV is still causing trouble even as its nationwide numbers begin to drop. The results are not encouraging: It’s not even December yet, and already over three-quarters of our inpatient and ICU beds are in use, with a shortage of pediatric beds also causing trouble (“Five states are at 90% capacity or higher. Currently the most overwhelmed state is Maine, at 109% capacity…”). If things are this bad without a major COVID-19 surge, we’re really going to be in trouble when those case numbers start climbing again (don’t forget, we’ve got two new variants taking over that are even more transmissible than their predecessors…), which means that we need to be extra-vigilant about doing what we can to limit the spread of all these viruses:
- Wear a high-quality mask and maintain proper social distance from others when in public. A high-quality mask that fits well can still provide solid protection, even if you’re the only one wearing one.
- If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, get it as soon as possible. If you’re not vaccinated against COVID-19 yet, get your shots at the earliest opportunity, get your booster shot once you become eligible, and schedule your appointment to get the omicron-specific booster as soon as possible. Experts remain optimistic that the latest shots will still offer some protection against omicron’s BQ variants. (There’s no available vaccine for RSV yet.)
- Hand-washing and surface disinfecting turned out to be less than effective at preventing COVID-19 transmission, but they’re still very effective against RSV and the flu, so be sure to follow proper handwashing guidelines to help keep you from getting sick.
It’s looking like we’ve got a rough winter in the cards this season, and although people would really like to pretend that all this pandemic stuff is behind them, a) it’s not, and b) it’s no longer the only respiratory virus in town looking to wreak havoc. With the holiday season on the horizon, we need to do everything we can to limit the threat of these pathogens and keep the people we care about safe.