c.2013 New York Times News Service

c.2013 New York Times News Service

With country music ascendant as one of the strongest genres in the music business, the radio giant Clear Channel Communications has announced a partnership with the country cable television channel CMT that will involve cross-promotion on the two companies’ various media platforms, and Clear Channel taking over the distribution of a popular CMT radio show.

The deal, announced Tuesday, calls for both companies to develop and share programming, giving Clear Channel access to a well-known country brand and CMT wide distribution on the radio as well as through Clear Channel’s online outlets like its iHeartRadio app. Clear Channel has 125 country stations, which it says reach 89 million listeners each month; CMT says it is available in 92 million subscriber households.

The changes that will come as a result of the deal highlight the competition between Clear Channel and Cumulus Media, which has about 70 country stations and has been building its own multimedia country brand, Nash. Cumulus’ effort began in January when it introduced WNSH (94.7 FM), the first country station in New York City in 17 years, and its Nash brand has spread to about a third of Cumulus’ country stations, with further plans to introduce related video content and a magazine.

As part of the deal announced Tuesday, Cody Alan, a CMT personality, will take over “After MidNite,” a popular nightly radio show syndicated by Clear Channel’s Premiere division, whose longtime host, Blair Garner, left in June to become WNSH’s morning host. Another show, “CMT Radio Live With Cody Alan,” which had been syndicated by Cumulus, will come to Premiere. Both changes take effect in January, and Alan will also host a one-hour weekend show, with details to be announced, according to the announcement from Clear Channel and CMT, which is owned by Viacom.

Helped by a generation of telegenic, pop-leaning young acts like Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan, country music has been enjoying a renaissance. According to Nielsen SoundScan, country was one of the few genres to see an increase in album sales last year — it was up 4.2 percent, compared with losses of 17.6 percent for Latin and 11.4 percent for rap; half of the top 10 albums last year were country, with Swift’s “Red” No. 2 for the year, behind Adele’s “21.”

Country has also proved strong on the radio. According to Arbitron, a ratings service recently bought by Nielsen, country is the most popular radio format in the U.S., with nearly 2,893 stations and a 14.2 share among listeners aged 12 and up, based on data from last fall that was released in May. (News and talk radio, with 3,984 stations, had an 11.4 share.)

“Country is enjoying a big moment,” Brian Philips, the president of CMT, said in a statement. “Clear Channel and CMT will capture it, celebrate it and spread the excitement across America to hundreds of millions.”