Country has always been a popular radio format, and there seem to be an almost unlimited number of stations and syndicated services playing variations of country, country and western and Americana. It begs the question, does the world need another country music service? Gimme Radio answers emphatically – yes! The two-year old startup has a completely different take on how to do country radio, and they’re using RCS Zetta and Zetta2GO to make it all happen.
Gimme Radio launched in 2017 with an eclectic heavy metal format. Its success led to the launch in May of a second channel, Gimme Country. This streaming service is what might have happened if 1970s free-form radio reinvented itself with 21st century technology. Rather than having a core library based on music research and programming driven by a scheduled rotation for songs, Gimme Country puts the DJ in the spotlight. The format revolves around the interaction between him or her, and the audience. Most of Gimme Country’s announcers are well-known country artists, such as LeeAnn Womack, Brandy Clark, Dillon Carmichael, Jesse Dayton and Joshua Hedley.
Most express enthusiasm for this open-ended programming philosophy. As Womak explains, “Growing up, my dad was a radio DJ, so I was surrounded by all kinds of music – everything from traditional country to blues to rock & roll. Gimme country is the perfect place for me to showcase my range of musical tastes and play my favorite classics and new favorites all in the same show.”
While Gimme Country is headquartered in San Francisco, where they have seven Zetta workstations and all production takes place, their DJs and contributors are scattered around the world.
Zetta2GO is the perfect tool for such global voice tracking requirements, As Jon Maples, Chief Product Officer for Gimme Radio explains. “Some of our DJs are used to the studio environment, and others are musicians who have never been in a radio station. We needed something sophisticated enough to satisfy the studio people, but also simple enough for novices to use. Zetta2GO keeps everyone happy.”
Because Gimme Country’s style puts the DJ in the spotlight, it totally changes the way they create and use a music library. Zetta is flexible enough to handle a novel approach. “We start with a different ethos,” says Maples. “The first step to building playlists is asking the DJs what they are playing and want to play. There are a lot of Americana artists, women and fringe groups. Creating a music library is really driven by the interaction between the DJs and their listeners”.
Much of Gimme Country’s success is based on a clever leveraging of new technology, as Maples elaborates. ”Operating a terrestrial radio station, with large studios, towers and and FCC license is expensive. That means they need to attract a large audience to generate enough capital to meet expenses and generate a profit. This, in turn, makes them averse to taking risks with unusual formats. As a streaming media service, we have a much lower overhead. We don’t need to attract a huge audience in order to be profitable. We can define micro genres, serve them well, and make money.”
And that is a big part of Gimme Radio’s plans for the future -seeking out neglected genres and developing channels to serve them. “Look for us to also be doing live broadcasts and having a presence at concerts and events in the future,” adds Maples.