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Garth Brooks Dishes On Country Radio… And Starts Own Station

16 June 2023 | 12:15 pm | Mallory Arbour

“I think radio is a reflection of the labels’ agenda … the labels simply own radio, they just do.”

Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks (Image: Supplied)

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Dissatisfied with what’s currently available on country radio, Garth Brooks has launched his own radio station. Brooks says The Big 615 offers an "authentic take on country music that offers up the biggest songs and the biggest artists today," is available on the TuneIn app here.

“I think radio is a reflection of the labels’ agenda … the labels simply own radio, they just do,” Brooks said. “They can say they don’t, or radio can say they don’t, but the truth is that nobody is going to get played on there that doesn’t have a major-label deal … So, what this does is, just because the label might think that George Strait’s career is past the label part, I want to hear the new stuff from George Strait. Just because … all the sudden The Chicks were cancelled, don’t make the mistake of thinking their music wasn’t any good. Their music was fantastic. My thing is, I want to hear the new stuff from Luke Combs, followed by the new song from The Chicks, followed by Lainey Wilson.”

“The one thing that’s bad for me,” Brooks added, “is if you don’t play somebody because of the colour of their skin or their gender. It’s as equally wrong if you do play somebody because of the colour of their skin and their gender. My thing is, let the music decide. Sometimes there’s going to be less women because the women aren’t putting out new stuff yet, and sometimes there’s going to be more women because the women are putting out new stuff. That’s what I want to see.”

It’s not dissimilar to when DJ Bobby Bones made similar statements in 2021 via TikTok.

“Here’s the truth about No. 1 songs: It’s politics. They trade them out like baseball cards,” Bones said. “A record label will talk to another record label and go, ‘OK, I’ll give you this #1 on this date; you give me that #1 on that date.’ Which really, it just should be the song that’s the most wanted, the most listened to, the song that people demand…  and so, when you hear someone talk about a #1 song, I would say half of them aren’t legitimate #1 songs.”

He continued, “They have to be good to get to the top 10. There’s a lot of research done into these songs. But when it gets to being a #1 song, it’s people going, ‘OK, I’ll give you this; you give me that.’ And it’s everybody trying to create as many #1s as possible because everything’s the same. Everybody gets a participation trophy at #1. For example, a Luke Combs song could be #1 for 10 weeks, but because of politics, the label will go, ‘Ah, let’s let somebody else get in that spot,’ and they’ll move him to #2 and he’ll sit there for a few weeks. The same thing with like a Maren Morris.”

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Brooks also said that listeners can expect to hear great artists from around the world. During a recent Facebook livestream between Brooks and former Sirius XM the Highway Host Storme Warren, who is the voice of the channel, Warren mentioned Casey Barnes specifically as an International country music artist he’d like to feature.

Brooks said, “Country music comes from other parts of the country, right? I’d love to hear what’s hot in Ireland. I’d love to hear what’s hot in Australia when it comes to country, that kind of thing. I love it. And I would love for something from here to come out of it, to where someone from Australia or Ireland to be nominated for the [Country Music Association Awards] or something.”

Warren added, “I mean, there’s a guy we talked about on the first big 20 countdown this weekend, Casey Barnes from Australia. He’s fantastic. I mean, he’s got everything. So, it’s going to be great to be able to celebrate artists from other parts of the country.”  

Brooks added, “Whatever your device is, just ask for Casey Barnes.”

The mention of his name caused Barnes’ phone to be inundated with messages.

Barnes shared on social media, “I’m over here in Nashville eat the moment and, all of a sudden, my phone started lighting up and all these messages saying ‘man, you need to get onto Facebook, you need to go to Garth Brooks’ page and check out his livestream right now. And if I’m not already having the best time of my life over here in Nashville… thank you so much Storme Warren, you are an absolute legend. This has just made my day.”

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