Sing Out: Country Network Adds 4 Affiliates

The Country NetworkYoung Broadcasting has a deal to carry a country-music network in four markets, including San Francisco. Young becomes the second station group to add The Country Network, a digital multicast channel, along with Sinclair.

The network looks to differentiate itself by carrying country videos only. Young's Richmond, Va. and Knoxville, Tenn. stations are set to begin airing the channel in December, with its Lansing, Mich. outlet going live early next year. A time line for distribution in the Bay Area, linked with station KRON, is set for an undetermined date in 2011.

Young is expected to use leverage in retrans deals to land cable carriage of the channel in at least the first three markets.

Sinclair's deal covers 28 stations. TCN is live in 22, placing the network on track for coverage of 20% of U.S. homes.

The network carries a tag: "It's Your Country." It is also streamed live on the network's Web site.



TCN would seem to compete more directly with cable network Great American Country as CMT has moved away, in part, from its country-music roots into other genres.

At Young Broadcasting, president Deb McDermott stated that the company has been exploring various options for its digital sub-channel usage and "with the popularity of country music, we believe TCN presents not only the most attractive programming for our viewers, but the best revenue opportunity for us as well."

McDermott may have more insight than other top station group executives, having logged time as general manager of Young's station in Nashville. But that outlet, WKRN, hasn't gone country on multicast yet, as it currently airs a weather channel on real estate there.

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