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Downtown goes ‘Country’ in first for UK radio

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DOWNTOWN Radio is set to launch the UK’s only 24/7 digital country music radio station ‘Downtown Country’ within the next few weeks. The new station will cover an eclectic mix of American and local country music, showcasing a plethora of talent right across the spectrum of contemporary and classic genres.

The new station is another major milestone for Bauer Media’s Downtown which made history nearly 40 years ago by becoming Ireland’s first commercial radio station.

Downtown Country, which will hit the airwaves in spring, is set to tap into the enormous popularity of the Country Music genre which has been growing across the UK with listeners young and old alike. Downtown Country will offer an impressive array of music talent including the biggest names in country both current and traditional as well genre-straddling artists like Taylor Swift.

Regional Managing Director of Bauer in NI, Mark Mahaffy said: “If you like your country music, you’ll love Downtown Country. The genre has never been more popular with a host of American and local artists introducing it to a whole new generation.

“Contemporary artists such as Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban and Nathan Carter will feature strongly in a typical hour of Downtown Country output, mixed with legends like Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks.

“It is fitting that Downtown, which was the first commercial station in the province in 1976, will now launch NI’s first ‘digital only’ station, reflecting the demand for one of the fastest growing music genres in the UK.”

Downtown Country will initially launch on the digital multiplex which will be accessible to a potential 1.5million adults across Northern Ireland over the next two years. Listeners across the UK will also be able to tune in via the Downtown Radio app for mobile or tablet and online at downtown.co.uk.

Downtown Radio is hoping its new ’spin-off’ station will help stimulate the growth of digital radio in NI, as listeners will now be able to enjoy a range of new, diverse and exciting programmes created specifically for the digital platform.

Programme Controller, Stuart Robinson said: “The beauty of creating something totally unique is that we are working off a blank canvas. Our established country programmes on Downtown in the evening are market-leading but the creation of an entire station dedicated to this genre will give us much more programming scope. Our programmes will take a fresh, modern approach and provide a platform to introduce new country presenting talent and music to Northern Ireland’s airwaves,” he said.

With 307,000 weekly listeners, Downtown Radio is the second biggest commercial station in NI behind sister station, Cool FM. Downtown Country is expected to start broadcasting by the end of spring 2015.

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