FM radio stations that specialize in playing country hits include WOVK in Wheeling, West Virginia; WLLR in Davenport, Iowa; and WOKO in South Burlington, Vermont. From 2008 to 2014, the number of country music radio listeners grew from 48.7 to 58.3 million, which represents a growth rate of roughly 20 percent.
Country music radio programs gained popularity during the Great Depression, as country fans were forced to buy fewer vinyl records. "Grand Ole Opry" is one of the most influential and popular country radio programs in history. Launching in 1925 and still on the air as of 2015, this program popularized many country music hits and artists.
The country music genre encompasses a wide variety of styles and influences. In 1927, the still-evolving genre was defined by a historic recording session from Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. The Carter Family played a traditional style of country close to old-time music and Appalachian folk. Rodgers innovated by introducing stylistic elements from gospel, jazz, blues and pop.
Starting in the early 2000s, country music hits started to show more influence from the mainstream pop and rock genres. In the 2010s, the country star Taylor Swift recorded hits that topped the pop and country charts.