by Chris Cannon
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The nation's second largest radio broadcaster has made a large investment in Nashville and the country music format.
Cumulus recently completed its NASH Campus in the SoBro area of downtown Nashville. It is located in a building it acquired after the purchase of several radio stations. The building was gutted and now houses three state-of-the-art radio studios, as well as offices for Cumulus' other country businesses.
"We are trying to create the headquarters for everything country," said NASH campus operations manager Jason Addams.
The NASH campus is currently home to "America's Morning Show," "NASH Nights Live with Shawn Parr," "American Country Countdown with Kix Brooks," "Kickin' It with Kix" and Country Weekly magazine.
Blair Garner is the host of "America's Morning Show" and the show moved into the NASH campus several months ago. He said Cumulus has really put thought into the NASH brand.
"They have clearly put their chips on the country lifestyle, the country life group and I am lucky to be able to host this show," Garner said.
The radio veteran is joined in the morning by country artists Terri Clark and Chuck Wicks and can be heard on nearly two dozen radio stations, including Cumulus' flagship country station in New York City. Garner's studio is for more than just radio. It is equipped with lighting and several high definition television cameras. It also can accommodate an audience who can watch the show.
"We have room for 12 in-studio listeners to come and they're actually part of the audience," Garner explained.
Each of the studios on campus are outfitted for both radio and television. The studio where country legend Kix Brooks records his radio programs is not only high-tech, it is posh, so his fellow country artist can feel comfortable when they are guests on the show.
"We have spared no expense here. These are the nicest facilities I've ever been in, and ever seen," Addams said.
The investment made by Cumulus is very clear, as is the company's intentional synergy between its country properties. Earlier this year Country Weekly magazine moved it's newsroom into the NASH Campus. The magazine will slowly transition into "NASH Magazine" in the coming months.
Between radio, on-line and its publication, Cumulus estimates it can reach nearly 7 million country fans each week. There are also plans to build an amphitheater on the campus where country artists can perform for listeners. One of Cumulus' Nashville stations, WKDF, recently switched to the NASH format.