Music chart show
Approx. 3 hrs. and 55 mins. (including commercials)
Don Bowman (1973–1978) Bob Kingsley (1978–2005) Kix Brooks (2006–present)
Casey Kasem, Don Bustany and Tom Rounds
American Country Countdown, also known as ACC or American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley, is an internationally syndicated radio program which counts down the top 40 country songs of the previous week, from No. 40 to No. 1, according to the Mediabase country chart. Begun in 1973, the show was originally hosted by comedian Don Bowman until 1978, when Bob Kingsley succeeded him as host. After Kingsley left in 2006 to host his own show, Kix Brooks succeeded him in January 2006.
Based on the success of American Top 40, Casey Kasem and Don Bustany, together with Tom Rounds of Watermark, created a country version of the top 40 program called American Country Countdown. The weekly, three-hour program premiered the weekend of October 6, 1973. It was produced by Bustany and hosted by comedian Don Bowman. The Billboard Hot Country Singles chart was the official chart for this show until August 2009, when ACC began using the Mediabase country chart as its source.
In the spring of 1974 when the show was up and running, Bustany tapped Bob Kingsley, who had been program director at country station KLAC-Los Angeles, to be ACC's producer. Kingsley molded the fledgling program, then heard on 95 stations, into a major success. He abruptly replaced Bowman starting with the May 6, 1978 program, mentioning only on his first show as permanent host that Bowman had left the program to pursue other aspects of his career.
Beginning with the January 11, 1986, broadcast, ACC was expanded to four hours, adding several new features, including an "ACC Archives" feature (similar to one featured on American Top 40 several years earlier, with a chronological playback of No. 1 hits of the 1970s, and later on the 1980s) and an "ACC Calendar," spotlighting a classic country artist, song, important innovation or event in country music.
Kingsley hosted the program until December 2005, when Kingsley started a competing radio show, Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40.
Beginning with the February 19, 2011, program, ACC reduced the length of the countdown from 40 songs to 30. Citadel Vice President of Programming and Distribution Bryan Switzer told Radio-Info.com that the switch came at the request of the affiliates who "were uncomfortable with the level of unfamiliarity the songs in the 30s had on their stations." Additional songs from the current week's guest(s) or recurrents were played to fill out the program, in place of song Nos. 31-40. However, ACC's website continues to list the top 40 songs of the week.
The Fox Network's awards ceremony, American Country Awards, which started in 2010, was cancelled and replaced by the American Country Countdown Awards in 2014.
The ratings for ACCA dropped dramatically compared to the 2013 American Country Awards. According to TV By The Numbers, 18-49 ratings/share dropped from 1.4/4 to 0.9/3 and viewership dropped from 5.14 million to 3.39 million.
ACC broadcasts several special programs throughout the year. The most notable include:
Other special programs, usually centering on a theme or to promote a much-anticipated album that was about to go on sale, air throughout the year. Past specials have paid homage to the West, presented unusual or notable chart facts and performer accomplishments, counted down the top acts of all time, profiled a performer, and presented the top female and male singers of the past decade.
During the early years, Kingsley (after he became the show's producer) was the fill-in host when Bowman was absent. During the Kingsley era, a top radio personality from one of ACC's affiliates filled in as host in Kingsley's absence. Kix Brooks did not assume hosting duties until January 21, 2006. Since 2006, either a top country music act or ACC executive producer Donna Britt has served as substitute host whenever Brooks was absent.
Reairing of older shows
In April 2015, Nash FM, the media brand and network of country music stations owned by Cumulus Media, announced it would begin re-airing classic ACC programs from the Bob Kingsley era, starting the weekend of May 2. The show, featuring programs originally aired between 1990 and 2005, is three hours in length (meaning the first hour of four-hour programs are not included).
The first aired ACC Rewind program featured an ACC show which originally aired May 1, 1993.
ACC was named Billboard magazine's "Network/Syndicated Program of the Year: Country" from 1987 to 2002. Kingsley twice won the Country Music Association's National Broadcast Personality of the Year award (in 2001 and 2003).
When ACC premiered in October 1973, it aired on just 45 stations. Today, the show is heard on more than 1,000 radio stations in the United States and worldwide, and can be heard on the Armed Forces Radio Network.
ACC is produced and distributed by Cumulus Media Networks; since 2007, the program has been distributed via Cumulus' Today's Best Country satellite network and, since 2013, on most Nash FM stations as well. Tom Rounds' syndication company, Radio Express, distributes the program to radio stations outside the United States.