American Country Countdown


American Country Countdown

"American Country Countdown" -- also known as "ACC" or "American Country Countdown with Kix Brooks" -- is an internationally syndicated radio program which counts down the top 40 country songs of the previous week, from No. 40 to No. 1, as recorded by "Billboard" magazine's Hot Country Songs chart. ACC is hosted by Kix Brooks, one half of the country superstar duo Brooks & Dunn. Brooks has been the host of ACC since starting with the January 21, 2006 program.

Based on the success of "American Top 40", Casey Kasem and Don Bustany, together with Tom Rounds of Watermark, created a country version of the top 40 program called "ACC". The three-hour weekly show premiered the weekend of October 6, 1973 produced by Bustany and hosted by comedian Don Bowman.

In 1974 when the show was up and running, Bustany tapped Bob Kingsley, who had been program director at country station KLAC-Los Angeles, to be ACC's producer. Kingsley molded the fledgling program into a major success then, on May 6, 1978, succeeded Bowman and hosted the program until December 2005, when Kingsley started a competing radio show, "Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40".

During the early years of the show, the jingle, "My kind of country, my kind of music" was closely associated with "ACC". In the mid-1990s the jingle was discontinued. While the program's content during its early years was almost exclusively the songs in that week's Top 40, "ACC" was lauded as an outstanding show that contained a lot of information about the songs and performers.Fact|date=October 2008

Changes through the years

Through the years, "ACC" underwent many changes. The show was expanded to four hours in January 1986, and Kingsley now played the previous week's No. 1 song at the beginning of the program. Also, the following new features were added:

* "ACC Calendar", which spotlighted a classic song; birthday of a performer or songwriter; or innovation in country music's history. At first an occasional feature that would be inserted at different points in the show, "ACC Calendar" was played at the end of the third hour for nearly 10 years. "Calendar" was discontinued when Kingsley departed the show.

* Previous hits from an artist, particularly if the song debuted on the Billboard charts on that given week.

* From 1986-1991, a chronological playback of all the No. 1 songs, from 1970 to 1989; three songs were played per week.

* From 1991-1996, the No. 1 songs were played alphabetically; at first, the list ranged from 1966 to 1990, but when this feature reached titles beginning with "N" in the summer of 1994, the list was shortened to highlight those songs from 1980 to 1993. Again, three songs were played each week.

Also during the 1990s, highlights of interviews from top country singers -- sharing humorous stories or the background of one of their songs -- began to be included.

Current shows include a number of features, including:

* "ACC Mailbag", where listeners are invited to request a song and share a story about why it means so much to them. "ACC Mailbag" began in February 1996; and during the Kingsley hosted era the feature was at the end of the first and second hours of ACC. When Kix Brooks took over the Mailbag segment was moved to the end of the second and third hours.

* "Still in Tune", a profile of a classic country artist who is still active in the industry. This feature began with the Brooks-era shows and serves as a replacement of the "Calendar" feature.

Kingsley's departure

Kingsley hosted the program for 27 years, stepping aside when ABC Radio Networks decided to move the show in a new direction. According to "Billboard Radio Monitor", Kingsley – who produced "ACC" for distribution by ABC Radio Networks – and ABC "failed to come to terms in a renegotiation." The show was likely to be retooled to fit an artists' perspective, the magazine reported.Fact|date=October 2008

While Brooks took the helm of "ACC", Kingsley began a new radio program called "Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40", which premiered December 31, 2005 (the year-end countdown). It is produced by Kingsley's KCCS Productions and distributed by Dial Global, and uses the "Mediabase 24/7" Country chart as its source.Fact|date=October 2008 Compared its pop predecessor, "American Top 40", there was not as much backlash with country stations when the Brooks/Kingsley switch was made, and both shows air on many stations, with one on Saturday and the other on Sunday at approximately the same time on each day.Fact|date=October 2008

ACC Specials

"ACC" broadcasts several special programs throughout the year. The most notable include:

* "Christmas in America", was a six-hour program aired within the week leading up to or on Christmas Day, with interview clips from country singers sharing Christmas memories interspersed between songs. The first special aired in 1989. While the title and format continued with "Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40" production, "ACCs version continued as "American Country Christmas""', with Brooks being joined by Ronnie Dunn.
* The "Year End Countdown". From 1973 to 1998, the year-end special reviewed the top 100 country hits of the year; this was halved to 50 from 1999 to 2004, and then trimmed to just the top 40 beginning with the 2005 year-end survey. The most notable highlight is a montage of all the No. 1 songs included in the countdown's survey period (usually, the previous November to the current November, although this has included early December for a time in the late 1980s) before the host plays the year's top song.

Other special programs -- usually centering on a theme or to promote a much-anticipated album that is about to go on sale -- air throughout the year. Past specials have paid homage to the West, presented unusual or notable chart facts and performer accomplishments, profiled a performer and presented the top female and male singers of the past decade.

On the occasions when Kingsley was absent, a top radio personality from one of "ACC's" affiliates filled in as host. Michael Jay filled in for "ACC's" annual year-end countdown program on December 31, 2005, as Kix Brooks did not assume hosting duties until January 21, 2006; Jay serves as the substitute host when Brooks is absent.

Awards

"ACC" was named "Billboard" magazine's "Network/Syndicated Program of the Year: Country" from 1987 to 2002. Kingsley twice won the Country Music Association's National Broadcast Personality of the Year award (in 2001 and 2003).

Worldwide syndication

When "ACC" premiered in October 1973, the show aired on just 45 stations. Today, the show is heard on more than 1,000 radio stations in the United States and worldwide, and can be heard on the Armed Forces Radio Network.

"ACC" is produced and distributed by ABC Radio Networks; since 2007, the program has been distributed via ABC's Today's Best Country satellite network. Tom Rounds' Radio Express distributes the program to radio stations outside the United States.

Further reading

* Bachman, Katy, [http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/tvstations/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001477063 "Brooks to Host American Country Countdown."] "Mediaweek", November 9, 2005.
* Durkee, Rob. "American Top 40: The Countdown of the Century". Schriner Books, New York City, 1999. ISBN 0-02-864895-1. Includes information about "American Country Countdown".
* Stark, Phyllis, [http://www.billboardradiomonitor.com/radiomonitor/news/format/country/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001476976 "ABC Taps Kix Brooks As New Countdown Host"] , "Billboard Radio Monitor", November 9, 2005.
* Battistini, Pete, "American Top 40 with Casey Kasem (The 1970s)." Authorhouse.com, January 31, 2005. ISBN 1-4184-1070-5. Includes information about "American Country Countdown".

External links

* [http://www.acctop40.com/ American Country Countdown official website]
* [http://www.charismusicgroup.com/ Charis Music Group] has digitally archived every ACC broadcast from the 1973 debut through 2004.
* [http://www.charismusicgroup.com/Cue%20Sheets/07-06-73%20Memo.pdf Letter from Watermark] announcing the then-in-development "American Country Countdown" series.


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