ADD: Beautiful Drug – Zac Brown Band (Southern Ground)

Disco never dies. I was up at the Flamigo Cantina on Sixth Street in Austin last Wednesday night for the monthly groove fest and got into a conversation with a guy in his mid-30s about music and he mentioned how much he disliked Disco. Huh? I thought that meme had faded into obscurity. Of course, I don’t get out much to know. So I mentioned a monster Disco hit from the past. Oh, he loves that one. Another one. His wife loves that one. And so it went. Thing is, remove the label and everybody loves a good dab of Disco because it’s just dance music and that never, ever goes out of style.

Now, I’d never have supposed that drum machines and thumpin’ beats like this would’ve invaded Country music. This format has always been built on a foundation of 35+ aged listeners. Lots of younger listeners from time to time, yes, but our bread’n’butter and meat’n’taters has been grownups with debts and kids and paunches and muscle aches and knees that are giving them trouble and who just can’t dance to a beat this damned fast.

Back in 1991, just as the Hot Country movement was sweeping across the scene, there was a station in Houston, KKBQ that switched from CHR to “Easy Country”. A monumental bust, it was. With the explosion of Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Brooks & Dunn, Shania Twain and all, who the heck would think that a “light n’ easy” presentation would fly? That’d be like going Light Rock in ’70. There was no demand, need or desire for it. Now, that was all fortunate for me because the next year, ’92, I got hired to join the save-our-ass team, we re-tooled the station with maximum boogie and a CHR presentation and what was then the most aggressively high rotations for our Currents in Country radio. An immediate turn-around, KKBQ became a ratings winner, an award winner and one of the top-billing Country stations in the nation. I say all that to say this: Maybe now’s the time for an Easy Country format. One that leaves out about 70% of the Bro-Country, drink til you puke and hard-rock guitar riffs.

Ok, back to Zac. I like this record a lot. The only thing that makes it Country is: Zac has had plenty Country hits before this and he’s a fan favorite. Add the fact that is SOUNDS like a pop culture hit single and I think we got a winner here.


Published by


I am one of the pioneers of the Hot Country format that swept across radio in the late 80's. In the early 80’s, I began advising his clients to make two significant formatting moves: 1) Increase the tempo. 2) Play more Currents. What seemed radical at the time, immediately producing ratings winners. My report about the formatting tactics I was using "Repositioning Country Radio" was published in ‘91. It was purchased by more than 200 radio programmers and served as a basic game plan for the Hot Country movement. Today, most radio markets have at least one station positioning itself as “Hot” Country. However, I no longer advise using the slogan anymore. As the format continues to evolve rapidly, new strategies are needed to maintain market share. First announcing job in '64; first PD position at age 18. I served as PD, air talent and station manager in twelve diverse markets prior to starting my consulting business in 1981. At the end of the 90's, I began transitioning from consulting to full-time business development of my music scheduling software company. Conceived and developed the first for the Macintosh computer, introduced in 1987; and Music1™, the first scheduler for Windows, introduced in 1994. The Mac-based scheduler was retired in the early 90s. The innovative Music 1 scheduler is now installed in broadcast and webcast stations around the world. Author of The Programming Operations Manual, radio's only step by step "how to" programming and formatting guide. The $99 book has been purchased by over 3000 broadcasters in the U. S. and around the world. I've often written about the technical, strategic and philosophical aspects of radio programing. My articles have appeared in all major trade publications. Experienced in all standard radio research methodologies; focus group, one-on-one interviews, questionnaires, call-out, etc. From jingles to TV production, billboard and bumper sticker design, telemarketing to direct mail, I've been involved in every aspect of radio programming and marketing.