Country Airplay is a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States.
This 60-position chart lists the most popular country music songs, calculated weekly by airplay on 128 country music stations across the country as monitored by Nielsen BDS. The chart does not count music downloads towards chart tabulation.
Throughout its history of ranking country songs by popularity, Billboard has had several different airplay-only charts to measure the top-played songs on radio stations. The first of these was called "Country & Western Records Most Played By Folk Disk Jockeys," and debuted with the December 10, 1949, issue. Like the other charts of the time, the number of positions was not standardized; the chart had anywhere from eight to 15 positions, varying from week to week. The chart, which had several other names, continued until October 13, 1958, when it was merged with the "best sellers" chart to become the Hot Country Songs chart.
Starting with the October 20, 1984, issue there was a separate chart for radio airplay. Like the Hot 100 Airplay chart that also debuted with this issue, it was a component chart that helped determine placement on the Hot Country Singles chart. This chart was discontinued in 1987, although a sales chart continued until 1989.
The Nielsen BDS-monitored country airplay chart was initiated on January 20, 1990 as a new incarnation of Billboard's long-running Hot Country Singles chart. The chart replaced the previous version of the Hot Country Singles chart, which had been based on manually reported station playlists combined with weekly singles sales. At this time the chart consisted of 75 positions. Four weeks later, on February 17, the chart was retitled "Hot Country Singles & Tracks." Beginning with the January 13, 2001 issue, the chart was cut from 75 to 60 positions, and effective April 30, 2005 the chart was renamed "Hot Country Songs."
Beginning with the chart dated October 20, 2012, Billboard changed the methodology of Hot Country Songs to also incorporate digital sales and streaming instead of airplay alone. In addition, the airplay component of the chart now factored in airplay on stations from all genres instead of the previous genre-specific radio panel. At this point the 23-year old airplay-only chart was retitled "Country Airplay."
As with most other Billboard charts, the Country Airplay chart features a rule for when a song enters recurrent rotation. Starting with the chart week of December 2, 2006, a song is declared recurrent on the country charts if it has been on the charts longer than 20 weeks; is not gaining in spins or audience impressions; and is lower than 10 in rank for either audience impressions or spins. Since December 2008, any song that is ranked below #10 in spins or audience and has not shown an increase in audience or spins for more than two weeks is also declared recurrent, even if it has not charted for 20 weeks.
- Billboard Country Airplay chart – online version.