Radio Intellectual Property: Westwood One’s Country Countdown USA



Westwood One is a multifaceted mass media provider specializing in radio broadcasting and digital audio content. Headquartered in New York, New York, the company also holds offices in Chicago, Nashville, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Dallas (“Contact,” n.d.). Through these nine offices it gainfully employs approximately 425 people (“Company Overview of Westwood One, Inc.,” n.d.). Westwood One is owned by Cumulus Media, a mass media and broadcasting company (“Cumulus,” n.d.). Cumulus Media completed total acquisition of Westwood One, formerly Dial Global, in the fourth quarter of 2013, for 260 million dollars (Bercovici, 2013). Westwood One boasts its diverse portfolio, which includes sports, talk shows, music, and other nationally syndicated programming including award shows and digital music platforms such as Rdio. It also has a national reach, which includes over 245 million people every week in 90 different United States media markets through its radio and broadcast affiliates as well as digital distribution channels and other assets (“Westwood One – We’re Connected,” n.d.) Country Countdown USA is a three-hour weekend radio show, country_countdownusa1_ehy3 (1)nationally syndicated by Westwood One through many major and local markets in the United States (“Country Countdown USA,” n.d.). Country Countdown USA, which began in 1992, is hosted by radio personality Lon Helton, and features an in-studio country star co-host each week who helps count down the top 30 country songs (“About,” n.d.).


Westwood One owns and operates 454 radio stations in 90 different markets in the United States. In addition, it has over 8,300 radio broadcast associates as well as several digital platforms and distribution channels. It also has brand partnerships with brands with NASH and the NFL, as well as a diverse portfolio of programming and nationally syndicated content (“Our Programming,” n.d.). Other assets include its talented employees, such as Country Countdown USA’s well renowned host, Lon Helton. Helton has been hosting the show since it’s beginning in 1992, and has won the Country Music Association Lon HeltonPersonality of the Year an astonishing seven times since 2002. He has also garnered three more honors for National Broadcast Personality of the Year from the Academy of Country Music. According to Country Countdown USA (n.d.), he is known as “country radio’s best known star interviewer.” Another asset is Country Countdown USA co-creator and producer, George Achaves. Achaves helped construct the show at its inception, and is currently responsible for producing much of its content as well as securing the country music celebrity that will be featured each week (“George Achaves | Soyars Leadership Lecture Series,” n.d.).

Business Model

As mentioned previously, Westwood One provides nationally syndicated programming and digital channels to the United States. Country Countdown USA, one of its radio programs, caters to a country music audience, with the goal of providing them with the week’s top songs, as well as pure entertainment. This entertainment is provided through the personality of host Lon Helton and his in depth interviews and connection with each week’s country music star co-host. These hosts share personal memories, sharing stories about their life such as being on the road and in the public eye, and speaking about celebrity friends and foes. Notable co-hosts include Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, and Carrie Underwood (“Country Countdown USA,” n.d.).

Country Countdown USA host Lon Helton with country star Keith Urban. Listen below to hear part of their exclusive interview:

Country Countdown USA host Lon Helton (left) with country star Keith Urban. Listen below to hear part of their exclusive interview:

Some major competition includes the American Country Countdown, hosted by well-known country music personality Kix Brooks of the legendary country duo Brooks and Dunn (“Contact Us,” n.d.). This radio broadcast program is also syndicated by Westwood One, which is owned by Cumulus Media (“American Country Countdown,” n.d.).

Revenue Model

Like most radio broadcast programs, Country Countdown USA is an advertising revenue model. Businesses produce advertisements and pay to buy airtime on the nationally syndicated show to relay their message to its vast audience in a variety of markets. These advertisements serve as the program’s main revenue stream (Beauchamp, n.d.). Westwood One as a company generates its revenue from this advertising model – its 454 owned and operated radio stations and over 8,200 broadcast affiliates. In addition, it owns many websites, which also generate advertising revenue, as well as other creative companies that specialize in jingles and custom imaging, such as TM Studios and Benztown Voice Over (“Jingles & Imaging,” n.d.).

What Sets Them Apart

Country Countdown USA is not simply a radio broadcast that plays the weeks top 30 songs, but rather a carefully crafted three-hour piece of entertainment and music that listeners want to hear. Each three-hour show features an in-studio celebrity co-host for the entire duration of the programming. Additionally, there are only three commercial breaks per hour, so listeners get the most out of the programming. Sometimes, these country star co-hosts even perform live in the studio. They also share personal stories and offers listeners an inside glance at their lives and personality. The personal connection that host Lon Helton makes with his co-hosts radiates through the program, and is felt by each individual listener (“Country Countdown USA,” n.d.).



About. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from


American Country Countdown. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from



Beauchamp, M. (n.d.). Traditional Broadcast Advertising Model.

Retrieved February 18, 2016, from



Bercovici, J. (2013, September 4). Ahead Of Cumulus Merger, Dial Global

Changing Its Name To Westwood One. Retrieved February 17, 2016, from




Company Overview of Westwood One, Inc. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17,

2016, from



Contact. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from


Contact Us. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from


Country Countdown USA. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from



Cumulus. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from


George Achaves | Soyars Leadership Lecture Series. (n.d.). Retrieved

February 17, 2016, from



Jingles & Imaging. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from


Our Programming. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from


Westwood One – We’re Connected. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016,


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