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Dude, Where's My Country?

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Last Thursday morning started out great. I jumped in my car listening to mix of morning shows, but left off listening to Kenny Chesney’s “You Save Me” on KZLA. When I returned to my car around noon to venture off downtown, KZLA had a grand surprise – it vanished, leaving the LA and OC counties country-less. LA has now joined the side of New York City and other metropolitan areas in life without a country music radio station.

Emmis, the corporate parent company of KZLA, found the station to be financially burdensome. Country formats generally appeal to 25 to 54 aged white listeners, which does not fit into the ethnically mixed demographics of the Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Although Los Angeles is ranked as one to the top two markets for country album sales and constantly holds sold out country concerts, Emmis suggest that a pop and R&B contemporary station will be more suitable. According to a New York Times interview with Rick Cummings, Emmis’s president, “country is a tough format to do in a market that is an ethnic melting pot. The appeal of the format is fairly limited when it comes to ethnicity.”

KZLA has been replaced by Movin’ 93.9, “The Mix That Makes You Move,” and will play host to mornings with the greatly missed Rick Dees. So if you need a honky tonk fix by way of radio, you’re out of luck. Goodbye KZLA, hello Movin’ 93.9.

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Kenny Chesney photo by ldbannister via flickr.com