Opinion: Why I’m launching a new classic country radio show that celebrates the past and embraces the future of REAL country music

The Forgotten Country Radio Show can also be streamed on Spotfity

At a time when Nashville has abandoned real country music and the mainstream media ignores the plight of small towns and rural communities, internationally touring comedian Drew Morgan and I are teaming up to launch “The Forgotten Country Radio Show.”

“Forgotten Country” is a 60-minute weekly audio program celebrating classic country music from the past, with emerging singers and songwriters redefining the genre for the next generation.

Together with our musical guests, we will discuss music, current events, and culture from America’s small towns and rural communities.

For generations, country artists from Hank Williams to Willie Nelson represented the plight of everyday hardworking rural Americans. But today, mainstream pop country has become almost unrecognizable to those who call small towns and rural communities home.

We’re starting small with three rural, local, and independently owned stations in Wisconsin. But over the next several months, we’re working on getting syndicated to a broader network of country radio stations.

You can hear our first pilot episode on Spotify here.

Local radio is a critical medium, especially in today’s polarized political climate. Recent surveys have shown that listeners’ trust in radio and its on-air personalities continue to grow as social media has become far less trustworthy.

One survey of radio listeners found radio to be 79% percent more or just as trustworthy versus a year ago. At the same time, social media was 50 percent less reliable during the same period. Trust in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter plummeted during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Facebook down 56 percent, Instagram down 38 percent, and Twitter down 140 percent.

I started my career in broadcast, working on Good Morning America and Monday Night Football. But over the last decade, I’ve spent my time working with exceptional teams to solve complicated community challenges. Most recently, my focus has been on increasing good-paying jobs and wages, decreasing daily expenses, and improving the quality of life for people living in small towns and rural communities.

My cohost, Drew Morgan, is a comedian, writer, and actor from the hills of East Tennessee. He tours internationally as a member of the wellRED comedy tour. He has been featured on Comedy Central, MTV, and ABC’s The View and is co-author of the best-selling political comic book The Liberal Redneck Manifesto. His award-winning podcasts wellRED and Into the Abiscuit have been streamed over a million times.

Together Drew and I are committed to recognizing the long tradition of real country music in rural America while highlighting a new generation of signer and songwriters building off this tradition. Next month, we’re looking to raise $4,000 to build our team to help us expand our reach. To increase the funds, we’ve started this Kickstarter.

In addition to running our program on rural stations across the country, our shows will be available on Spotify. And, of course, we’ll be posting our content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I hope you’ll tune in.

Yonlander Radio

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Matt Hildreth
Matt Hildrethhttp://RuralOrganizing.org
Matt Hildreth is the Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org. He grew up on a small farm in eastern South Dakota and is a graduate of Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota where he studied Philosophy and Communications. He earned a Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication from the University of Iowa and holds an Executive Education Certificate from Harvard University’s Leadership, Organizing and Action program.

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