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iGEN by Ted Volk
The Place Where Radio and Records come Together Without Talking

Scott Borchetta is having a rocking day. Doubling down on his belief in the ongoing viability of the genre, , the Big Machine Label Group ruler will become one of five mentor/judges in Cumulus Media’s brand-new neXt2rock 2017 contest.

The winner of the radio chain’s rock-focused, four-month-long competition, which is being introduced on-air by Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, will snag a record deal with Big Machine/John Varvatos Records, a JV announced earlier today. The act that comes out on top will receive “substantial exposure, commensurate with a major label release, on Cumulus radio stations nationwide,” according to the release.

Joining Borchetta as mentor/judges for the competition’s finale will be producer Bob Ezrin, writer/producer Desmond Child, former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and Rossdale.

All told, 61 Cumulus stations in 47 markets, including KLOS, KQRS, WLUP, KATT, WGRF and KSAN (see full station list at, will conduct local grass-root searches, with additional national participation through Cumulus' digital properties and syndicated rock shows.

In launching the neXt2rock initiative, Cumulus CEO/President Mary Berner stated, “We are putting a stake in the ground to support the next generation of music talent, further signaling to listeners, advertisers and business partners that Cumulus is invested in the future of music and radio. With the renewed interest in the rock genre among Millennials and Gen-Xers, Cumulus has even more opportunities for growth, providing expanded exclusive content and programming for fans, and an even larger audience for America's newest rock star."

Varvatos threw some verbal goat in his quote, enthusing, “Can't wait to find the new R&R rebel. Long live rock!”

Said Rossdale: “When my friends at Cumulus asked if I would be interested in lending my voice and support to help find a hard-working, aspiring artist fulfill a dream to be in this business, how could I say no? I had so many people help me in my early days when I was trying to launch my career, and I consider it an honor to be part of this unique talent search that is delivering what no one else out there does—national airplay across Cumulus rock stations, a major recording contract and all the incredible exposure that comes with that. Good luck!”

neXt2rock2017 is the second iteration of Cumulus’ Next franchise, which was launched last year with the country-focused NASH Next contest.