Kick Up Your Heels: The Top 7 UK Country Radio Stations

Country music radio stations in the UK are experiencing a massive resurgence.

While America might be the first place that comes to mind when searching for the locations with the biggest country fanbase, the UK is quickly catching up.

In the last few years, the number of people streaming country music songs and artists on digital channels has shot up by almost 50 percent.

Additionally, weekly listener numbers on popular country-focused stations, such as Absolute Radio Country and Smooth Country, are quickly increasing.

Even the number of country music festivals and events is shooting up, particularly in regions around Britain.

The question for music fans is – which stations should you check out if you want to be part of this musical revolution?

Today, we’ll look at some of the best radio stations in the UK known for their incredible country-focused playlists.

The 7 Best Country Music Stations in the UK

In the past, radio stations focused entirely on country music weren’t particularly common in the UK. Country tunes and artists were often regulated to occasional appearances on Top 40 and various stations.

However, that’s all starting to change.

The revival of the country music fandom in the United Kingdom has helped spur the growth of various genre-focused stations in the last few years alone.

Here are some of the best country music stations in the UK, perfect for soothing your achy, breaky heart.

1. Absolute Radio Country

Country artist strumming acoustic guitar up close
Absolute Radio Country is one of UK’s leading country music stations.

Part of a wide selection of Absolute Radio sister stations, Absolute Radio Country is a digital-only station, available online and via DAB in some regions.

Initially, the station launched as Country Hits Radio in 2019, making headlines as the UK’s first national country music station.

By the early 2020s, Absolute Radio Country reached over a quarter of a million listeners weekly, and fan numbers continue to grow.

Primarily, programming on the station consists of various country-focused playlists, with occasional presenter-hosted sessions.

Some of the most well-known hosts to appear on Absolute Radio country include Una Healy, Dave Berry, and Ben Earle.

The station has also hosted several guest presenters, including Sam Palladio, Charles Esten, and Elvie Shane.

Frequency: Digital only

Website: Absolute Radio Country

2. CountryLine Radio (Chris Country Radio)

Previously known as Chris Country, CountryLine Radio is a UK-based station founded by Chris Stevens in 2013.

The station is available in various areas throughout the UK on DAB frequencies, including Greater London, Manchester, and Liverpool.

Most of the programming from CountryLine radio is automated. However, in recent years, the channel began introducing more presenter-led shows.

The breakfast show, hosted by founder Chris Stevens, is one of the most popular programs on the channel.

Well-known figures, such as Miles Myers and John Collins host other programs throughout the weekly schedule.

Notably, CountryLine also broadcasts country countdown programs taken straight from the American landscape, including Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40.

Listeners can also expect to hear regular news updates in between playlists.

Frequency: DAB

Website: Chris Country

3. Country Radio UK

Country musician playing guitar on stage up close
Country Radio UK broadcasts twangy tunes online.

Dedicated to showcasing a diverse selection of country music tunes, from traditional to contemporary artists, Country Radio UK is a fantastic online station.

Though many playlists focus heavily on artists from the United Kingdom, songs are taken from country stars all across the globe.

The station boasts a fantastic and varied playlist, hand-picked by presenters throughout the week, and a range of well-known shows hosted by presenters.

Some popular programs include Breakfast with Brian and Geoff’s Collection.

One of the most interesting things about this online radio station is its commitment to helping listeners discover new artists.

All songs played on the channel are also listed online, so fans can replay their favorite tune and search for specific tracks.

Frequency: Online only

Website: Country Radio UK

4. UK Country Radio

Another excellent pick for music fans passionate about online streaming, UK Country Radio is an online radio station dedicated to showcasing and supporting British country artists.

Unlike most radio stations with a country music vibe, this channel is all about up-and-coming stars.

Although you will hear some country classics and modern tunes from well-known groups on the platform, you’ll also discover local names you may never have heard of.

The station even presents its own awards ceremony, celebrating the biggest artists in the UK.

This station will keep you entertained with plenty of diverse playlists to explore and a range of fun dedicated programs.

Some of the best regular programs include The Texas Takeover with Karl Shoemark and Route Americana with David Miller.

Frequency: Online only

Website: UK Country Radio

5. Smooth Country

Part of the Smooth network of local and international radio stations owned by Global, Smooth Country is a digital station focused entirely on the country music genre.

The station was launched as an online streaming service via the Global Player and Smooth website in March 2019. It was also established as a broadcast radio station in September of the same year.

While listeners can occasionally hear country music hits and classics on the standard Smooth Radio channel, the Country service offers a more specific playlist.

Primarily, the best way to access the station is online. However, a few local DAB multiplexes also carry the broadcast.

Smooth Country features a host of fantastic shows and programs packed with songs from country stars from across the globe. This digital channel lets you listen to classic hits and tunes by modern artists.

Frequency: DAB and online

Website: Smooth Country

6. BBC Radio 2

BBC Radio 2 is the UK’s most popular radio station, offering a diverse and eclectic mix of playlists for virtually every musical taste.

As of 2023, the station now attracts around 14.4 million listeners weekly, giving it a share of around 15.2 percent in the UK.

Although the channel doesn’t focus solely on country music, there are many playlists and shows that feature this genre.

Weekday evenings, in particular, are host to programs focusing on specialist music playlists, including country, folk, and blues songs.

BBC Radio 2 has also launched several pop-up stations over the years, including a temporary BBC Radio 2 Country station. This channel was dedicated to covering the Country-to-Country festival in 2015.

Frequency: FM: 88.1 – 90.2 MHz

Website: BBC Radio 2

7. Downtown Radio

Country artist playing the banjo in a black shirt with blurry hands
Downtown Radio is a Northern Ireland country station on AM, FM, and DAB.

Finally, Downtown Radio is a radio station from Northern Ireland, broadcasting across FM, AM, and DAB channels.

The station first launched in 1976 and follows a hot adult contemporary format, offering listeners access to various muscle styles and genres.

Over the years, the station has earned critical acclaim for its news output and incredible playlists. It’s also one of the region’s few independent local radio stations to still cater to various minority tastes, including gospel and jazz.

The country music programs on the channel, which broadcast several times every week, have some of the highest listenership ratings for the station.

If you want an excellent collection of hard-hitting programs, unique talk shows, and country music mixed with a few contemporary hits, this channel is for you.

Well-known presenters from Downtown Radio include Neal McClelland, Gary Myles, and Caroline Fleck.

Frequency: FM: 96.4 MHz, 96.6 MHz, 97.1 MHz, 102.3 MHz, 102.4 MHz, 103.1 MHz, and 103.4 MHz.

Website: Downtown Radio

The Best Radio Stations for Country in the UK

Although the UK’s number of country-focused radio stations is still limited, it’s beginning to grow.

Currently, the online world will give you the best selection of country music playlists in the UK.

However, the popularity of other, more traditional FM and AM airwaves stations may encourage the rise of new channels in the years to come.

Don’t forget many of the most popular stations in the UK also have dedicated programs for specific musical genres.

If you want more variety, it’s worth browsing the schedules posted online by some of your favorite stations.

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