American Country Countdown
is a weekly, long-running
syndicated radio program, currently hosted by Kix Brooks (of the country music duo Brooks & Dunn
), which counts down the 30 most popular
radio songs in the United States.
The show's history dates to October 6, 1973, and was conceived as a spinoff of American Top 40
. Both programs were created by Don Bustany, Tom Rounds and Los Angeles radio personality (and voice actor
) Casey Kasem
. Initially, Don Bowman a Lubbock, Texas, native who became famous for his comedy recordings and association with Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson was the host. While he did a very credible job, conflicts with his touring schedule eventually forced him to give up the show in the spring of 1978. Bob Kingsley, who began producing the program in the spring of 1974, took over as host, and the rest was history.
The Kingsley era was arguably the height of the program, with his shows very much similar to Kasem's programs, in both hosting style and features: the occassional oldie or album cut, and stories about each of the songs. ACC
as the show is sometimes known was initially three hours (just like AT40
in its early years), and expanded to four effective with the January 18, 1986, show.
plays requests and dedications from listeners, today called "ACC
Inbox". Much like Kasem's "Long Distance Dedication," the requests were often sentimental in nature and directed at someone whom the listener had not seen in some time, or an anniversary of a landmark event (such as an anniversary or a relative's death).
Kingsley hosted ACC
until 2005, when he was forced out after ABC Radio Networks which owns the program wanted to revamp the show; the announcement was made in October, and Kingsley's last program was December 24, the last regular countdown program of 2005. Kingsley started a rival program, Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40
, while ACC
tapped Brooks as its new host. After several weeks of substitute hosts, Brooks took over on January 21, 2006.
, song-ranking data originally came from Billboard
magazine, only this time using the Hot Country Singles (now Hot Country Songs) chart. The show has used Mediabase as its chart source since August 2009. The show's chart length was trimmed to 30 songs effective February 12, 2011. Kix has also ditched the retro songs in favor of more recent recurrents.
American Country Countdown provides examples of:
- The Eighties and The Nineties: When the show was arguably at the height of its power, although it actually started in The Seventies and is still doing well today.
- Guest Host: Late in his tenure, Kingsley would often take one or two weeks off per year and hand the mic over to someone else (usually a DJ at a major market radio station). Incidentally, Kingsley was a guest host about a half dozen times during the Don Bowman era of the mid-1970s, usually when Bowman's touring schedule didn't allow him to make the trip to Los Angeles to record the program; other top country acts of the day including Red Stegall hosted ACC's special programs during the 1970s. Today, Donna Britt, executive producer of ACC, handles the guest duties when Brooks is absent.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Kix's decision to cut the show to 30 spaces meant that he never got to hear his post-Brooks & Dunn single "New to This Town" on his own countdown, as it peaked at #31.
- Long List/Top Ten List: Thirty songs (originally 40), plus a couple of extras, in four hours (originally three).
- Long Runner: The program debuted in 1973 and has been going strong ever since.
- Montages: A staple of the year-end programs from 1973-2005; this was simply the No. 1 songs during the past year, often in chronological order. The host Bowman or Kingsley would tease that somewhere included was the No. 1 song of the year. The montage was played between the Nos. 2 and 1 songs.
- Through the Kingsley years, as part of a stretch story, he would sometimes assemble a montage of songs related to an artist or theme, or having a common subject in the title (such as songs about money). These montages typically ran 2-3 minutes and had often about a dozen songs or so included.
- Nothing But Hits: The entire premise of the program. Anyone who has been fortunate enough to obtain vintage copies of past programs especially those from early in the run would hear hit songs of their day that have likely not been played anywhere for 30-plus years.
- Quietly Performing Sister Show: Of the parent program, AT40.
- Previously On: Starting in 1986, the No. 1 song from the previously week's show would lead off the countdown. This segment, which continued throughout most of the rest of Bob Kingsley's tenure as host, was inspired by sister program AT40, which had played back the No. 1 song from the last program (and at times, Nos. 2 and 3 as well) to begin each week's show starting in 1979.
- Today, a "Top 3 Recap" begins each program, with Kix Brooks playing clips from the songs within that part of the chart.
- Rearrange the Song: Like AT40, single edits were usually used ... and when time was running short, some of those songs would be butchered even further.
- Oddly, a couple songs late in the Kingsley era seemed to always be presented in abridged fashion even though they weren't that long of a song to begin with.
- Spin-Off: ACC is the country version of AT40.