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95X going “Nash” country… or just an elaborate hoax?

95X going “Nash” country… or just an elaborate hoax?

Updated 3:35pm — SYRACUSE — Could heritage rocker 95X (WAQX) be flipping from rock to country?  Or is someone out there just playing a prank on the interwebs?  A new website — along with a newly-launched and suddenly-removed Twitter account — is raising question as to whether Cumulus Media is bringing it’s “Nash” country music branding to Syracuse.

By pure chance, your editor happened to be checking out the list of the latest followers to the @cnyradio Twitter account, when we noticed an interesting name on the list: @NASH95CNY.  Here’s how the profile page looked at 12:30pm:

Screenshot of "@NASH95CNY" on Twitter on 10/16/13.  Click to see full-size.
Screenshot of “@NASH95CNY” on Twitter on 10/16/13. Click to see full-size.

Moments after we returned the favor by following the account back, we noticed we were unable to see who else was following or being followed — the account was already deleted.  (Glad we grabbed a screenshot while we could!)

There was one Tweet posted, which read, “Central New York’s Best New Country. Coming soon!”

3:35pm Update: We noticed the @NASH95CNY Twitter account was back online briefly, then disappeared again.  In the brief time it was online, we were able to see that the account had “followed” 48 other Twitter accounts, including CNYradio.com, local ABC affiliate WSYR-TV and mostly, a few dozen national country music artists such as David Nail and Carrie Underwood.  Before we had a chance to see who else was following Nash, the account was closed off again.

The Twitter profile mentioned a website at nash95.com — which appears to be a temporary placeholder page hosted by GoDaddy.  A check of the WHOIS record for the domain shows it’s a private registration.  Although the website was still up as of 12:45pm, here’s a screenshot in case it also disappears:

Screenshot from Nash95.com - Click to see full-size
Screenshot from Nash95.com on 10/16/13 – Click to see full-size

At first, the format flip seems like it could be credible — 95X parent company Cumulus Media has already flipped several other stations across the country to the same “Nash” logo and branding, with the “Country for Life” slogan shown on the Twitter account’s profile page.

But, it is somewhat suspicious to see allegedly “official” word about about a format change out in public, when it hasn’t happened on-air.  It appears to be business as usual on heritage active rocker 95X — the likely would-be victim of such a format flip, given the “95” in the name of the Twitter account and the website.  Format flips are usually kept “under wraps” until the new format actually launches on-air — not leaked online in advance.

A source within Cumulus Media’s Syracuse offices, who declined to be named for this story, tells CNYRadio.com this all appears to be a prank, allegedly being orchestrated by an unknown party outside of the company.

Since the Nash format is already in use elsewhere, it wouldn’t take much work for someone to copy the logo and wording and make a legitimate-looking Twitter account.

Was it really a prank, or did someone accidentally let the cat out of the bag a bit early?  Time will tell…

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