Todd Cavanah, program director of Entercom’s country station WUSN Chicago, tells Billboard that he has liked “New Year’s Day” since first hearing it, along with all of Reputation, at an industry preview of the album, attended by Swift. “I told her we would add [it]. We still play many of her titles, and this song fits perfectly on country radio. We win by playing the best music available.”
WUSN played “New Year’s Day” 27 times through Thursday (Nov. 16), easily the most of the 10 Country Airplay reporters sampling the song so far; the panel consists of 148 stations. (Among Swift catalog songs, “Highway Don’t Care,” by Tim McGraw with Swift, received a leading 208 plays on reporters in the seven days ending Nov. 16. “Mean” ranked second with 168 plays, followed by “Our Song,” “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story,” with 151, 126 and 69 spins, respectively.)
Johnny Chiang, Cox Media Group Houston director of operations, and who oversees country KKBQ, lobbied Big Machine to try the song at country after Swift’s Tonight Show performance. “We thought it would be a perfect KKBQ song,” he says. “So, all day [Wednesday] I was pestering [Big Machine founder/CEO] Scott Borchetta and [VP promotion] Kris Lamb to send me a clean copy of the song. They asked why, and I told them KKBQ was going to put it into medium rotation, regardless of the fact that it was an unreleased cut from a pop album.
"By late [Wednesday] night, the label called me and said that, partly due to KKBQ’s pending airplay, they had decided to [service it] to country.” (KKBQ played “New Year’s Day” seven times through Thursday.)
Still, others in the format are much more reserved about welcoming Swift back (even with many having previously programmed pop stations). “You know, I never say never, but I get serviced a lot of music that I don’t play, and I won’t be playing the Taylor right away,” says Lance Houston, pd of iHeartMedia-owned WBWL Boston. “Essentially, I believe that Taylor has moved on from the country genre, and, you know what? That’s fine. I like her new album a lot. But it’s not country.
"As she has moved on, our core country listeners have moved on from Taylor, so I’ll lay off of it for now,” Houston says. “Also, playlist space is tight. I have a ton of music worth adding from artists in the format, and it’s not fair to add a pop song when great artists are waiting their turn.
"With all of that said, if it starts doing well at country stations that are playing it, and I see solid research from our base, then I’ll revisit it,” adds another major-market programmer, wishing to remain anonymous, of “New Year’s Day” in relation to Reputation’s overall bevy of beats, “Just because it’s not EDM doesn’t make it country.”
if for some god awful reason.. reputation is leaked
please.. do not spread it… do not listen to it.. just don’t..
I know especially with social media and technology its very easy to do so but please, don’t spread the album if it’s leaked.
taylor hasn’t released a full blown album since 2014, she’s taken time off to do her own thing and relax and chill and write her music how she wants to write it and it would kill me if it got leaked because she’s worked so fucking hard.
i remember reading a post a while back where a person said that luna’s “free somebody” was the official lgbt+ anthem. now i’m reading that the #10 most requested song that people wanna hear at the lgbt+ pride festival in seoul this yr is the legendary and slept on song “free somebody” by the beautiful park sunyoung. simply amazing.