Country music celebration lures ‘heartland’ viewers to RTÉ

Stetson invasion proves a hit for Montrose

Nathan Carter, the “Justin Bieber of country” according to this newspaper, performs at the inaugural RTÉ Irish Country Music Awards. Photograph: Andres Poveda

Nathan Carter, the “Justin Bieber of country” according to this newspaper, performs at the inaugural RTÉ Irish Country Music Awards. Photograph: Andres Poveda

 

Country music is the new rock ‘n’ roll for RTÉ, with last Friday’s inaugural Irish Country Music Awards, held in association with the Irish Farmers Journal, attracting an average of 475,300 viewers and, perhaps more importantly, a 39 per cent share of the audience watching television at the time.

The 90-minute event, hosted by Daniel O’Donnell, was organised in partnership with the Irish Country Music Association, and featured country acts such as Nathan Carter, Big Tom McBride, Lisa McHugh and Mike Denver, who was named Entertainer of the Year through a public vote conducted on Farmersjournal.ie.

Expect more stetsons to follow.

The success of the Late Late Show’s country music special last October – it attracted an average of 740,000 viewers and a whopping 52 per cent audience share – has focused RTÉ minds on catering for this particular taste of what the broadcaster refers to as its “heartland” viewers.