Instagram | @kelseaballerini

Country Singers Speak Out After A Radio Station Said They Can't Play Female Artists Back To Back

There has always been a bit of a gender issue in country music. But after a country radio station, straight-up confessed to their biases, female singers are banding together to fight back.

Unfortunately, mainstream country music has a shockingly disappointing history of catering to their male artists.

Instagram | @lukebryan

Go ahead, turn on CMT, your local country radio station, or any country music festival lineup and see for yourself.

The male to female artist ratio reeks of sexism.

There have been dozens of powerful women in country music, but in comparison to the men, they are seemingly few and far between.

This, of course, has reflected in the number of songs by female country artists that are played on the radio.

In 2015, a country radio consultant named Keith Hill used this analogy to describe women in country music.

"If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out," he said.

"The reason is mainstream country radio generates more quarter hours from female listeners at the rate of 70 to 75 percent, and women like male artists."

Instagram | @bretteldredge

"The expectation is we're principally a male format with a smaller female component. I've got about 40 music databases in front of me, and the percentage of females in the one with the most is 19 percent," he blabbed on.

"Trust me, I play great female records, and we've got some right now; they're just not the lettuce in our salad."

And then, I kid you not, he called women "tomatoes".

"The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females."

Not gonna lie, folks, I just died a little bit inside.

In 2018, for the first time, there were ZERO women in the radio airplay top 20.

And in 2019, studies found that only 16% of the top country musicians are women.

So, in a nutshell, if you're a woman trying to make it as a country artist, you'll have to work doubly hard to be heard.

While country radio stations evidently, have no issue playing male artists back-to-back, they flat out will not give female artists the same courtesy.

Which brings us to the more recent drama...

Chris Willman, a features editor at Variety, jokingly tweeted this:

Chris has written pieces about women in country music before, so his stance on this issue came as no surprise.

In response to Chris' tweet, a country radio station in Saginaw, Michigan, WKCQ, wrote this:

Twitter | @98fmKCQ

As though there is some kind of legitimate, cemented rule.

What's even more alarming about this tweet, is that even though Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town are both bands made up of more men than women, because the lead singers are women, it's deemed unacceptable.


The tweet was deleted following immediate backlash, and the station released a statement clarifying that there is no such rule.

But the damage was already done and it basically, opened the floodgates to a lot of rightfully angry women in country.

Country star, Kacey Musgraves — who has experienced the ruthlessness of country radio firsthand, sounded off.

Twitter | @KaceyMusgraves

She did not hold back.

Amen, sis! Thank you for telling it like it is!

Next, Kelsea Ballerini chimed in, sending a message to all the women struggling to be on the same playing field as men.

For the love of god, it's 2020.

Women deserve the same opportunities as men. PERIOD.

Kelsea's post was met with TONS of support from women and men in the industry.

Instagram | @kelseaballerini

Lindsay Ell, Karen Fairchild (of Little Big Town), and Kassi Ashton were among those to comment.

Cassadee Pope, Catt Sadler, and again, Kacey Musgraves commented their praises as well.

Instagram | @kelseaballerini

Obviously, Kacey Musgraves is the winning comment, here. But at any rate, the overwhelming support Kelsea's post got is incredible!

Jamie Lynn Spears, Tyrone Carreker (Sam Hunt's lead guitarist), Danielle Bradbery, and Maddie & Tae.

Instagram | @kelseaballerini

We can only hope that this sparks change and women can finally have a fighting chance in country music.