Radio 2 goes country with DAB station

Garth Brooks at the 43rd Country Music Awards The country legend will speak to Patick Kielty as part of a spin-off station

Garth Brooks will speak to Patrick Kielty in an exclusive interview for Radio 2 this March.

It's one of the highlights from a temporary digital station dedicated to country music, to be run by Radio 2.

The pop-up DAB radio service - @Radio2Country - will air from March 5 to 8, midday to midnight, with a line-up of archive documentaries, live broadcasts and special shows, including coverage from the UK's largest country music festival C2C from London's O2.

Artists scheduled to perform include Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Lee Ann Womack and Lady Antebellum.

Specialist music editor Al Booth says: 'We are at one of the most exciting times for country music in the UK, with its popularity growing each year. We're thrilled to bring a bit of Nashville to the BBC and offer music fans the opportunity to indulge in their love of country music for four days in March.'

This is the second DAB pop-up service from Radio 2, following in the footsteps of last year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Launching in March is a six-part panel show from BBC radio comedy, presented by Susan Calman. Radio 2's Listomania will challenge a panel of comedians, DJs and musicians - including Sarah Millican, Ricky Wilson, Al Murray and Sara Cox - to take part in a series of games that celebrate the humble list.

Also coming in the spring is an hour-long documentary about bandleader and pioneer Ivy Benson, presented by former Spice Girl Mel C.

The programme examines how Ivy - who ran an all-girl swing band from 1939 to 1982 - weathered big changes to the entertainment and music industry post-1940.

Melanie C calls the little-known bandleader a 'trailblazer', adding: 'It was Ivy's passion and talent that paved the way for The Spice Girls. There's no doubt in my mind that, in musical terms, Ivy Benson was the originator of girl power. We might be the band most closely associated with "girl power" but Ivy pioneered it.'

Sax Appeal: Ivy Benson's All Girl Band is a sister programme to a documentary about the bandleader which aired on Radio 4 in October and is available on iPlayer Radio.

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