Music Shows Part 1: About the Show
While music shows were a previously forlorn television format in the West, they have been a long-standing pillar of the South Korean television industry. Six out of the seven days of the week, a music show airs in the late afternoon to early evening hours. These six music shows play a key role in the promotional schedule of idols and are often a determining factor in mainland success. While there are other “music shows,” these six are the ones to pay attention to when determining chart wins.
SBS MTV The Show is aired every Tuesday at 6 p.m. KST or 5 a.m. EST. The first episode was aired on April 15, 2011. Its current MCs are CLC’s Yeeun and NCT Dream’s Jeno. Since January 2019, The Show has been broadcasted to 18 countries with English subtitles through MTV Asia. The Show is streamed online, though it is only available through Video on Demand.
MBC Music’s Show Champion (more commonly referred to as Show Champ) is aired every Wednesday at 6 p.m. KST or 5 a.m. EST. It was first aired on Valentine's day in 2012. Currently, it only has one host, Kim Shinyoung, but often has guest MCs on each episode. Show Champion is streamed live on the ALL THE KPOP YouTube Channel.
CJ E&M-owned television channel Mnet broadcasts M!COUNTDOWN every Thursday at 6 p.m. KST or 5 a.m. EST. It first aired on July 29, 2004. Currently MCing on M!COUNTDOWN are AB6IX’s Lee Daewhi and actor Han Hyunmin. For those who may not know, BigHit Entertainment producer and CEO Bang Sihyuk used to have a segment on MCOUNTDOWN called B’Shop where he would introduce key hit songs for that episode. While MCOUNTDOWN is aired live in several countries where the Mnet cable channel is available, you can also catch the show live on the MWAVE website. Make sure to log in with your MWAVE account or else the stream will not work.
KBS Music Bank is aired on Friday 5 p.m. KST or 4 a.m. EST. Its first episode aired on June 16, 1998. Their current MCs are Lovelyz’s Kei and actor Choi Wonmyung. Music Bank is aired in over 100 countries through various KBS World channels. If you do not have the KBS World channel you can stream Music Bank on the KBS World Youtube channel, or you can download the KBS World Android and Apple apps in their respective stores.
Show! Music Core
MBC Show! Music Core is aired every Saturday at 3 p.m. KST or 2 a.m. EST. It was first aired on October 29, 2005. It currently has three MCs: gugugudan’s Kang Mina, SF9’s Chani, and Stray Kids’s Hyunjin. This music show’s ranking chart has gone through a lot of changes, even being discarded several times. The chart was brought back in 2017, and while there has been talk of new changes being made, there’s been no further discussion concerning the removal of the chart. Show! Music Core is streamed live on the MBCKpop YouTube channel.
SBS Inkigayo is the longest running Korean music show currently on air. It airs every Sunday at 3:50 p.m. KST or 2:50 a.m. EST. It was first aired December 15, 1991. Currently, SEVENTEEN’s Mingyu and actress Shin Eunsoo are the weekly MCs. Unfortunately, and similarly to The Show, Inkigayo is not streamed for free, though it is available for Video on Demand.
These six shows are the ones idols generally tend to focus on during promotional activities, as wins are usually the determining factor of success in Korea. Groups usually have a goal of winning at least once on every show, along with getting what’s termed an “all-kill.” Next month, we will talk about how each show determines their winner and how international fans can vote for their favorites.