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‘Circle’, Free Over-The-Air (OTA) Country Music Network to Launch January 1st in 50% of Households

Jason Gurwin

‘Circle’, a new country music network, built in partnership between Gray Television and Opry Entertainment Group, will launch on January 1st. Unlike Country Music Television (CMT), which requires a pay-tv subscription, Circle will be available free over-the-air in more than 50 percent of TV households at launch. Most of those with antennas will be able to get the network as a sub-channel of the 56 Gray Television stations (a full list below), or those owned-and-operated by CBS including New York and Los Angeles.

When Circle launches, it will debut with 16 shows including Opry Live, which will bringing new live-recorded performances from the Grand Ole Opry. Additionally, Bluebird Café Sessions will show performances and storytelling from the iconic Nashville venue. A full list of programming is below.

Drew Reifenberger, general manager of Circle Media said:

Circle is all about fun, discovery and accessibility for country music fans. Circle will align fans and artists by creating intimate experiences and camaraderie of a close-knit circle of friends.

While the linear OTA channel will be free, they will also offer mobile and TV apps that brings their content on-demand with a premium subscription.

Circle Gray Television Launch Markets

City Call Letters
Albany, GA WGCW
Amarillo, TX KEYU
Anchorage, AK KTUU
Augusta-Aiken, GA WRDW
Bangor, ME WABI
Baton Rouge, LA WAFB
Birmingham (Ann and Tusc), AL WBRC
Boise, ID KNIN
Burlington-Plattsburgh, VT WCAX
Cape Girardeau, MO KFVS
Cedar Rapids, IA KCRG
Charleston, SC WCSC
Charleston - Huntington, WV WSAZ
Charlotte, NC WBTV
Cincinnati, OH WXIX
Clarksburg, WV WDTV
Cleveland-Akron OH WUAB
Colorado Springs - Pueblo, CO KKTV
Columbia, SC WIS
Columbus, GA WTVM
Evansville, IN WFIE
Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, MI WJRT
Gainesville, FL WCJB
Green Bay - Appleton, WI WBAY
Greenville, NC WITN
Honolulu, HI KGMB
Huntsville, AL WAFF
Jackson, MS WLBT
Knoxville, TN WVLT
Lansing, MI WILX
Lexington, KY WKYT, WYMT
Lincoln-Hastings, NE KOLN, KGIN
Louisville, KY WAVE
Lubbock, TX KCBD
Memphis, TN WMC
Minot-Bismarck-Dickinson, ND KFYR
Montgomery, AL WSFA
Myrtle Beach - Florence, SC WMBF
New Orleans, LA WVUE
Ottumwa-Kirksville, IA KYOU
Panama City, FL WECP
Rapid City, SD KOTA
Reno, NV KOLO
Richmond-Petersburg, VA WWBT
Roanoke, VA WDBJ
Savannah, GA WTOC
Shreveport, LA KSLA
South Bend-Elkhart, IN WNDU
Tallahassee-Thomasville, FL WCTV
Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota), FL WWSB
Toledo, OH WTVG
Topeka, KS WIBW
Tucson (Nogales), AZ KOLD
Tyler-Longview (Lufkin & Nacogdoches), TX KLTV
Waco-Temple-Bryan, TX KWTX
West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL WFLX
Wichita-Hutchinson Plus, KS KSCW
Wilmington, NC WECT
  • The channel will also be coming to CBS owned-and-operated stations

Full List of Programming on Circle

  • “Opry Live”: Beginning in February, Opry Live is a compilation of new live-recorded Grand Ole Opry performances that will be released each week. In the Opry tradition, this show will be a mix of today’s top stars, up-and-comers and all-time greats.

  • “Fandom”: The artist-fan relationship is unlike any other. Fandom is a series that explores the impact and intimacy of the artist-fan relationship from the perspective of fans as well as some of country music’s biggest stars, like Eric Church and Zac Brown.

  • “Bluebird Café Sessions”: Each year, thousands of fans flock to see artists and songwriters at the world-famous Bluebird Café. The Bluebird Café Sessions is a viewer’s ticket in – without the line! In this series, viewers will enjoy performances and storytelling from one of Nashville’s most iconic venues.

  • “Southern Weekend”: Hosted by singer and musician Natalie Stovall, each episode will highlight the best in southern living by visiting all the great attractions of the South including restaurants, museums, unique stores, and music venues. Country music artists will join in along the journey and share some of their favorite places.

  • “Backstage at the Opry”: Peek behind-the-scenes of the Grand Ole Opry, alongside artists as they go from rehearsals to the stage – and everything in between!

  • “Craig’s World”: Follow Opry member and Army Veteran Craig Morgan at home and on the road as he and his tight-knit family navigate triumphs and challenges while developing businesses, writing hit songs and balancing a country music career.

  • “Authentic America”: Hosted by veteran TV host Nan Kelley and her Grammy-nominated husband Charlie Kelley, Authentic America takes viewers on a two-wheeled version of the classic American road trip by way of backroads and rural routes exploring some of the country’s best kept secrets – including lesser known attractions, off-the-beaten path eateries, and most interesting of all, the people who make America one of the most colorful and eclectic nations in the world. Guests include Blake Shelton and Alabama.

  • “Upstream”: Join Elizabeth Cook as she invites artist guests to a new fishing location each episode. While the fishing may be good, the real catch is the conversation. Early guests include Cam and Shooter Jennings.

  • “Opry Debut”: Enjoy mini follow-documentaries that chronicle the moments and emotions that artists experience leading up to the memorable career milestone every country music artist dream of achieving – their Grand Ole Opry debut. Debut’s include Opry NextStage 2019 picks Tennille Townes, Travis Denning and Riley Green as well as the Opry debut of Ashley McBryde.

  • “The Write Stuff”: Viewers get a peek inside the inspiration and creation of some of country music’s greatest songs. Join country music hit makers as they walk step-by-step – from the initial concept to the final chord – and share the key licks and lyrics that brought their stories to life. Episodes feature Little Big Town, Old Crow Medicine Show and Travis Tritt.

  • “Opry Docs”: Hosted by contemporary artists like Brad Paisley, Charlie Daniels and Amy Grant, Opry Docs is a series of documentaries on country greats like Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, George Jones and Minnie Pearl.

  • “Better Half”: Meet the larger-than-life spouses of some of today’s brightest stars and find out what gives them their own star power. Featured spouses include Samantha Busch (wife of NASCAR driver Kyle Busch), Kate Moore (wife of Justin Moore) and Christine Ballard (wife of Frankie Ballard).

  • “Dailey & Vincent”: Join Dailey & Vincent – the world-renowned bluegrass duo – as they host and perform in front of a live audience along with some notable friends like Vince Gill and the Oak Ridge Boys.

  • “Stand Up Nashville!”: Shot before a live audience at Nashville’s legendary Zanies Comedy Club, each episode of Stand Up Nashville! features a well-known comedian host as well as four up-and-coming comedians. Laugh along with a packed Zanies’ house and the most brilliant comics the South has to offer.

  • “Family Traditions”: Follow the next generation of country’s legendary families as they honor their roots while forging their own path. Episodes include Sam Williams (grandson of Hank Williams and son of Hank Williams Jr.) and Ashley Campbell (daughter of Glen Campbell).

  • “Phil Vassar’s Songs from the Cellar”: Join country music hit-maker, Phil Vassar, as he welcomes artists, songwriters, entertainers, athletes, and wine enthusiasts into his favorite place to write songs – his wine cellar! Each episode will feature conversation and collaboration along with a shared drink. Simple in concept yet rich in content, Phil’s laid-back style and quick-witted personality brings out the best in his guests as they share entertaining stories about their interesting lives. Guests include Kelsea Ballerini, Charles Esten, Mike Tyson and Hunter Hayes.