Fredericton — The capital’s favourite pop radio station has flipped the switch on its style, and as of early this week will play chart-topping country hits all day, every day. “The New” Hot 92.3 FM, now called Fredericton’s New Country 92-3, expected the sudden change to be met with praise, but it has instead been hit with a flurry of criticism, fear and apprehensive social media posts.
Market research carried out for the station at Statistics Atlantic showed that the majority of New Brunswick radio listeners love country music, but unfortunately, that research failed to account for all New Brunswickers’ hatred of anything new, different, or otherwise not the same.
“We were so confident everyone would love it that we didn’t even feel the need to announce we were flipping over to country,” said popular radio host Tom “The Sturge” Somerville. “Instead of Bruno Mars we’ll be playing Kenny Chesney — I honestly didn’t think anyone would notice.”
But Frederictonians have indeed noticed and are not taking kindly to the change.
“Hot 92.3 used to be my favourite station,” moaned Laura Bell of Forest Hill. “I loved the way they just played the same 3 songs over and over for months on end. I knew what to expect, and I liked that. What if they introduce some new country music I haven’t heard before? I won’t know the words and my drive to work will be completely ruined.”
A study recently revealed that most pop songs are written at a Grade 3 reading level, with lyrics such as “I’ll take you to the club and take you to my home, tonight, girl” — “tonight” and “girl” being the most commonly used words in pop. Some have suggested that country will be more in line with New Brunswick’s average reading comprehension due to it being written at a Grade 2 reading level. Country songs are notorious for including lyrics about “riding shotgun with a bottle of Jack, driving to the barn to get my girlfriend back” — a theme most New Brunswick residents have themselves experienced.
Station manager at 92.3 Gerry Harmony said the Stats Atlantic research that indicated country’s prevalence in the playlists of New Brunswickers of all ages was airtight. “Frankly, I’m shocked that despite the overwhelming popularity of country music, people in Fredericton are upset about this. I guess they’d rather just listen to something familiar than hear something good that they may not know right away.
“At this point, though,” he continued, “it would be too much of a shock to our fans to switch back to pop, so we’re just going to stick with country and see what happens. We’ll still only play 3 songs day in and day out, but they’ll just be a slightly different genre. Fredericton will get over it in time.”