The Hodgepodge: Salad Gate Needs To Be About More Than Female Artists on Country Radio

Miranda Lambert and other female country artists deserve to be on country radio. But not all female artists.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, the country music industry has been abuzz over comments country radio consultant Keith Hill made in the weekly Country Aircheck. Here are those comments again to refresh your memory:

Many people, including myself, are rightfully in an uproar over these comments. Then again I wasn’t that surprised. As you regular readers know, I take a look at the Billboard Country Airplay chart every week and observe the shenanigans taking place. There aren’t too many female country artists populating the chart right now. It’s been a sausage fest for the last few years. Many country artists, male and female, have also spoke out against Hill’s comments. Miranda Lambert had a pretty straightforward response:

And there were several more tweets expressing distaste in Hill’s comments. Of course Hill doesn’t know better to shut his mouth and went on to make a bigger ass of himself in articles on CMT and The Tennesseean. Not even bro country artists have been dumb enough to say something stupid (yet). But the flames continued to build bigger over the weekend when country radio personality Carson Johnson not only backed Hill up on his comments, but made even dumber comments himself:

Now you probably expect me to tear into these comments, but there’s been more than enough of these articles. Many great articles that do a better job than I could, have already been published and are well worth your time reading. Windmills Country has a great, data-driven post on MJ’s Big Blog. Trigger at Saving Country Music has weighed in with his always intriguing thoughts and has several posts giving analysis on the situation too. So I’ve been sitting and observing all of this stuff happening. No doubt I’m thrilled that this issue is finally being given the attention it deserves, as this problem has been persistent in country music for years. I’m a big champion of female country artists and we feature several talented artists right here on the site. But I see a problem with this movement.

People are not looking at the whole picture. This is bigger than not enough female country artists being played. This is about not enough quality country artists being played. This needs to be about all quality artists being left out, not just all female country artists. Why? Not all female country artists deserve to get airplay and quite frankly some people getting involved with this movement don’t need to be involved. For example, Maggie Rose getting involved:

Really? You’re the same artist that recorded “Girl In A Truck Song” in 2014. It was one of the worst songs of the year. It completely pandered to bro country and in my opinion tarnished Rose’s image. So in one year’s time Rose went from bro country supporter to female empowerment? I’m supposed to get behind an artist that was just pandering to radio? This is called bullshit trend riding and seems to be the only thing Rose is willing to do in her career. Speaking of bullshit…

Go away, Bobby Bones. I don’t want you involved in this at all. You’re part of the establishment poisoning country radio right now and really you don’t belong in country music period. Take your pandering and shove it up your ass. Kelsea Ballerini doesn’t belong on country radio either. She’s a pop artist. Her music is not high enough in quality to play on country radio. See why I have issues with this movement? People equate female country music to quality, just like the idiots who run country radio equating chart success to quality. Neither are the case.

More female country artists deserved to get played on radio. But so do underplayed male artists who make quality music. Eric Paslay and Jon Pardi put out some of the best albums in mainstream country music in 2014. They barely get any radio play. Pardi’s new EP is wonderful and yet there isn’t a single from it in the top 60 on the airplay chart. Mo Pitney is one the most promising upcoming artists in mainstream country music and where’s his airplay? Multiple Texas country artists such as Aaron Watson, Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers should be on mainstream country radio. Sturgill Simpson had a huge year in 2014 and didn’t even sniff country radio, despite the fact that he outsold several mainstream artists in album sales. He achieved a top ten album without any airplay or major label push. Yet I have to hear that untalented hack Cole Swindell on the radio?

Country music’s biggest problems are what I’ve been saying all year: there aren’t any gatekeepers to vet the quality of the music or even if it’s country at all, the payola going on behind the scenes (specifically On The Verge), and dirty politics. This is what is holding back not just female country artists, but all quality country artists. Luke Bryan no doubt has a huge fan base, but he wouldn’t be near the star he is without the pushes he has gotten from his label and radio. This goes back years and I hope to talk about a little unknown story from before he became a big star in a future Hodgepodge. It’s really interesting. All of the bro country artists (Swindell, Chase Rice, Thomas Rhett, Michael Ray) wouldn’t be nothing without the support of radio and their labels. In a world with justice they remain obscure and never become the stars they are right now. Country radio executives wanted mimbos with hunky looks who were willing to do whatever it took to get to the top and willing to perform brainless, watered-down music filled with cliché hooks. They didn’t have standards and were looking for dollar signs.

If Kacey Musgraves got the same kind of push Cole Swindell has gotten, she would have #1 hits on radio. But she doesn’t conform to what the sexist, clueless pigs at country radio and country labels want out of an artist. You can say the same thing about Mo Pitney. So you shouldn’t be campaigning for more female country artists. You should be campaigning for more quality male and female country artists on the radio. You should be demanding the crap currently populating radio being taken away. However demanding things won’t get you your desired result. You want to make an impact? Boycott country music radio indefinitely. Don’t listen at all. Tell everyone you know not to listen to country radio. Hit them where it hurts and that’s in their bottom line. Listen to your own music library or your CDs. Listen to radio stations that play quality country music. It’s the best way to make a difference. In the summer of 2015 I’m declaring war on mainstream country radio and I hope you join me in doing the same.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • A Thousand Horses will released their major label debut album Southernality next Tuesday. Their lead single “Smoke” has had a lot of success on the airplay charts and will reach #1. It’s also got a lot of hits right here on the site. We’ll definitely be reviewing that one.
  • Montgomery Gentry’s new album Folks Like Us will also come out next Tuesday. It was originally supposed to come out in the early spring, but it was pushed back until now. I’m really not sure what to expect with this album, as their music has been a mixed bag in the last five years or so. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to review it.
  • Chris Hennessee, signed to Jamey Johnson’s Big Gassed Records, will release an album next week titled Greetings From Hennessee. I listened to the lead single from it and I thought it was pretty good. Johnson has an eye on for talent, so I’m definitely giving this one a listen.
  • Hunter Hayes just recently came out with his new single, “21.” There will be a review on this one soon.
  • Kip Moore announced on Twitter last week that his new album will finally be released on August 21. It will be called Wild Ones. So you only have to wait a little longer for an album, Kip fans.
  • Kellie Pickler just released a new song titled “Feeling Tonight.” It was originally released exclusively to Spotify, but is now available in most music outlets. I’m sure we’ll get around to reviewing it.
  • Brett Eldredge will release his new album on Friday, September 11 and it will be called Illinois.

Throwback Thursday Song

The Dixie Chicks – “Not Ready To Make Nice” – Yeah this fits this Hodgepodge perfectly. Country music needs The Dixie Chicks back. Save us Dixie Chicks! I would love to hear what they think of Keith Hill.

Non-Country Song of the Week

Guns N’ Roses – “Welcome To The Jungle” – One of my favorite rocks songs from one of my all-time favorite albums, Appetite For Destruction.

Tweet of the Week

So many choices this week, but I’ll go with Twitter king Jason Isbell’s comments on Hill.

iTunes Reviews That Rock!

%22Real Life%22 is Real Bad

This week’s reviews are for Jake Owen’s new song “Real Life.” Thank you to reader Ben for sending this one in! Looks like Owen’s own fans felt the same way you and myself also felt about the song. Remember Jake if you’re going to copy 90s music, copy 90s country radio, not 90s pop radio.

That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments! 

31 thoughts on “The Hodgepodge: Salad Gate Needs To Be About More Than Female Artists on Country Radio

  1. Raymond June 4, 2015 / 11:10 am

    While Josh I do agree quality should be better. I think the female thing has to be the top priority. First get the woman more Airplay Mickey, Kelsea, Carrie, Miranda, Reba,Martina. Then focus on the quality music and have both fit in the radio playlists instead of the males that dominate. That’s the problem there’s so many artists around that unfortunately artists like Mo and Mickey are bound to get lost in the shuffle. Also the new Hunter and Kellie songs are really good to me but my taste is different. Kacey is find without radio success she sells really well. Also I’m gonna keep demanding Kelsea Josh for my part in the war. Jon Pardi isn’t releasing anything from the EP it was just to tide things over.

    1 out of 10 what would you give that Dixie Chicks masterpiece of a song.


    • Josh Schott June 4, 2015 / 11:22 am

      I’d give it 10/10. The amount of passion they put into the song makes it so enjoyable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ron12274 June 4, 2015 / 11:30 am

        I do miss them and am still sickened with what happened. Oh well. Also during their hayday in the 90s along with Shania, Martina and Faith I’m sure sure female artists were getting played at least 5-6x an hour

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fat Freddy's Cat June 4, 2015 / 11:23 am

    I think you’re spot on. If country radio focused on quality I think the male/female ratio might possibly take care of itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Derek Hudgin June 4, 2015 / 11:32 am

    Your musical selections today are top-notch! It’s too bad the Dixie Chicks are facing a ridiculous “ban” from Country music with their comments about Bush back in his presidency… this is a group of bad ass women that Country needs at the helm!

    And as far as GNR is concerned, that opening guitar riff is a masterpiece! Really, Appetite for Destruction is a masterpiece! “Welcome to the Jungle” “Paradise City” “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” It’s just an epic rock album

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott June 4, 2015 / 11:52 am

      Thanks! Yes, we absolutely need them back. I picked GNR because I just recently got Appetite For Destruction on vinyl and have been playing it a lot. It’s definitely a masterpiece and to me one of the best rock albums ever. Hard to believe that was their first album. Rarely does a band’s first album end up being their best.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Derek Hudgin June 4, 2015 / 12:01 pm

        Yes! That was one of the first rock albums I got, or rather burned on my MP3 Player from my dad’s collection, when I got into Classic Rock.


      • Pete Marshall June 4, 2015 / 12:34 pm

        I would like to see Dixie Chicks come back to the scene. I have Guns n Roses cd and it is good.


  4. Scotty J June 4, 2015 / 11:53 am

    The most telling sign that this is a rigged, corrupt system is that even in markets with multiple country stations they all basically stick to the same mix with slight variations. If these stations were all free actors then you would think that some struggling second or third place station would go bold and completely flip the script by playing different acts whether male or female in an effort to capture a different audience then there competitors but it rarely happens.

    Like you mentioned this situation cries out for leadership and innovation at all levels of the system but sadly I see no signs of that right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. southtexaspistolero June 4, 2015 / 12:27 pm

    Great post. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Like I said over at my own blog:

    “Do we really want more of the likes of Kelsea Ballerini, RaeLynn, and Haley Georgia on the radio? And more songs like ‘Somethin’ Bad’ and ‘Little Red Wagon’?

    “Because in practice, that’s what more females on the radio would mean. Call it trading one pile of shit for another. I mean, sure, we could all think of great music that deserves airplay from the likes of Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, and so on, but if they were going to play that they’d also play Sturgill Simpson, Aaron Watson, and William Clark Green. Put another way, the lack of a female viewpoint is a symptom. The dearth of meaningful country-sounding music from both genders is the disease. I do see what people are getting at when it comes to this — that everyone should get an equal playing field — but I don’t think making that the primary goal based on gender would necessarily be the thing to do. I get why people are talking about it, but I still think that if we got back to what country music was once upon a time, that issue would take care of itself.”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Truth No. 2 June 4, 2015 / 12:41 pm

    Who songwriters are has a much bigger impact on quality than gender does. Our real problem is not an exclusive club of male performers but an exclusive club of male songwriters. Using the Dixie Chicks as an example, for their Home album they had Bruce Robison, Stevie Nicks, Radney Foster, Darrell Scott, and Patty Griffin as songwritters. They did not have Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorey, Luke Bryan, Rhett Atkins, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott June 4, 2015 / 12:52 pm

      That’s a great point too. The songwriting in mainstream country is male dominated also and this certainly has an effect on the music being presented. And it’s not like there isn’t talented female writers. For example, Caitlyn Smith is a fantastic songwriter and doesn’t get nearly attention she deserves. The best song on Garth’s newest album was “Tacoma” and she wrote it. I’m glad you brought this up because it’s certainly part of this issue facing country music.


  7. jb June 4, 2015 / 1:18 pm

    I’ve been waiting for your perspective on this, Josh. Very well said.

    I can remember being told, as a baby country DJ back in the early 80s, that I should never play two female artists back to back, so that idea’s been around a long time. And I have also been told by people I know who are plugged into radio research today that the research supports what Keith Hill said–country listeners, even females, prefer records by male singers to those by females. So simple outrage isn’t going to increase the proportions.

    Your prescription–that we need to insist on better music from everybody–is probably the only thing that’s going to help. But it will be extremely difficult to overcome the labels’ desire to make money by any means necessary, and the undiscriminating nature of the average person who turns on the radio (for nine minutes at a time, or so the consultants say) and likes it, without thinking too hard about it.

    We’ve seen the effects of the same phenomenon in pop and rock music, where mass-produced and mass-marketed “hit” product is largely unlistenable. But those who have grown up with it and don’t know anything else are like fish who don’t know they’re wet. Which is going to be a problem for country in the future.

    Pessimistically yours . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott June 4, 2015 / 1:45 pm

      Thank you!

      I’m not surprised to hear this stretches back to the 80s. Country music deep down has always had this problem, but it hasn’t been as pronounced as it is now. Plus with the Internet nothing today goes unnoticed. If you look at the chart back in the 80s, you’ll see that there weren’t that many more female artists on it than there is today. There was certainly more, but not as much as people think.

      Yes getting country music to overlook the bottom line for the sake of more quality is not an easy battle and maybe not even a winnable battle. The ideal of course is music that is great for both aspects, but that’s pretty difficult to find. There are a few exceptions sometimes, like Zac Brown Band’s “Homegrown.” As you said the public is used to mass-produced music and they are completely unaware of the better music lying out there. Some are even aware of it and still choose the mass-produced music. It boils down to people not liking change and getting used to old habits. It can be difficult to get the average person to listen to new music. They like their comfort zone and don’t want to take the time and effort for something new. Unless of course it becomes massively popular, in which case the bandwagon effect takes place (this certainly played a factor with bro country). People like the status quo because it’s easy. Change is hard in many different ways. The thing is though I believe change will come eventually for country music, whether that be in five months or five years. Inevitably there has to be a backlash, or at least that’s what the optimist in me thinks. It’s complicated and the solution to fix it is going to take a while to concoct.


  8. jb June 4, 2015 / 2:15 pm

    Inertia is a powerful force, but it’s something country has always fought. Back in the 80s, the need for an artist to release three or four singles a year meant that any given star, even as big as Alabama or the Oak Ridge Boys, was going to lay an egg at least annually. Yet even then there wasn’t the degree of sameness that makes a lot of today’s country hits so hard to stomach.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Zack June 4, 2015 / 2:22 pm

    I really never thought about it that way Josh, but you’re right, we do need more quality music in general. I certainly wouldn’t rather hear someone like Raelynn over someone like Jon Pardi. The problem is that yes, there can be a place for a FEW stupid songs, but there needs to be a balance. Something that radio has had up until about 5-10 years ago. We need songs that make a difference and carry a great message. Look at the pulse, I mean pretty soon a negative like 5 will be considered “improvement”. It’s sad that the mainstream has gotten this bad, we seriously need a Nirvana moment. Come on Sturgill, Stapleton, anybody, help save country music!

    Also I love GNR. I’ve unfortunately never heard the Appetite For Destruction album but I seriously need to change that haha.

    Also, I’m glad people aren’t liking Jake Owen’s new song. I feel betrayed as a fan after “Real Life”. A 3/10 was too generous guys haha 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. leigh June 4, 2015 / 4:34 pm

    Many talented people deserve a chance at radio but let’s keep the focus on the females for a little while, good grief. Musgraves did get a big push but you are right in saying Cole got a bigger one w/ less quality music. Let’s remember back- Miranda had 3 #1 albums (2 of which went platinum),an Album of the Year Award before she got a radio #1. The rules for ladies is ridiculous. The silence from the Male Super Stars is stunning. Ashley Monroe, Brandy Clark, Kellie Pickler, Musgraves, etc need to allowed on radio. This antiquated Keith Hill and his 1960 system must be retooled. Come on radio get w/ the program and play the ladies. Hill even did a podcast saying that Miranda will be getting a pushback at radio, ” Not Dixie chicks bad but she will need to duck and cover”. Wow now little ladies can’t have opinions that go against the grain. Yikes!


  11. Barbara Fairbanks June 4, 2015 / 4:42 pm

    I don’t mind colorful language here and there, but am immediately turned off to the point of view by someone like you calling Keith Hill or anyone else names, like a child with too large of an adult vocabulary on the playground.

    Your statements are crude and uncalled for. “Take your pandering and shove it up your ass”, “sexist, clueless pigs at country radiio and country labels”, your support of Jason Isbell’s “incredibly stupid Keith Hill” comment. And by the way, “Hill doesn’t no better…” (uh, “know” would have been correct)

    Your vicious comments cannot be compared to calling females the tomatoes of a salad. If data from the listeners themselves showed that male artists should be no more than 15% to have good ratings, then Mr. Hill would have called males the tomatoes in the salad. And I am curious if we would have seen the same uproar.

    I know Keith Hill well. If it was determined from the data generated by the listeners themselves that playing more men, playing more instrumentals, or playing more of any of the other criteria would improve ratings, Mr. Hill would make those changes in a heartbeat, without hesitation. He is absolutely not a sexist and does not control what the listeners want to hear. He simply helps the stations he consults to improve their ratings and become more profitable. That is his job – it is what the stations pay him to do. It is not his job to fix societal problems. He has huge appreciation for quality female artists and would love to see 50% females being played, but he cannot recommend to stations paying him to do so, because he knows that it will cause their ratings to drop.

    Please be more respectful in your comments.


    • Josh Schott June 4, 2015 / 5:34 pm


      I’m guessing you are not a regular reader of my blog. When I make these “crude” comments they are not said in anger or in a harmful manner. They are more said in a jest manner. However Bobby Bones is noted for pandering in several instances and is basically a puppet for the company he works for. Not to mention the fact that last year he had a very public beef with Kacey Musgraves, who never did anything wrong to him, and effectively tried to hurt her image and career. I have no respect for shock jocks like Bones. As someone who has been in the media industry and has been educated in the field, I know his types and I know they’re spiels. These type of people should never be involved with serious issues.

      Well considering how male dominated country music is and with the dearth of female country talent out there, yeah I’m going to assume there are some sexist pigs in control on Music Row. I support Isbell’s comments because I have a great respect for him and his opinions. I’m sure he’s much more familiar with the industry than you are considering he’s an artist who is familiar with the insides of country music. Also you call me a child, yet you point out a petty grammar mistake? Haha!

      Vicious? This isn’t even one of my top ten vicious posts. No, I thought I was quite fair in my article. I never outright said Hill was wrong. However the way he framed his comments paints him out to be a sexist pig, even though I know he probably isn’t. He should have chose his words more wisely and could have approached the subject in a more diplomatic way. You then say this:

      “He simply helps the stations he consults to improve their ratings and become more profitable. That is his job – it is what the stations pay him to do. It is not his job to fix societal problems. He has huge appreciation for quality female artists and would love to see 50% females being played, but he cannot recommend to stations paying him to do so, because he knows that it will cause their ratings to drop.”

      Yes I’m well aware of his job and it isn’t his duty to solve societal problems. But at the end of the day we all have a conscious of the moral stipulations surrounding a situation. Actions speak louder than words. He can have all the appreciation he wants for female artists. But if he’s recommending that radio doesn’t play female artists, even though it’s his job to present the best advice, he’s still actively hurting female artists. It feels like artists like Musgraves and Lambert are being punished for not having a penis. You can cite as much data as you want and reiterate his job duties until your blue face, but at the end of the day he’s part of the holding back of female artists at country radio. This is a fact, no matter what obligations surround his advice and decision-making. He is doing what is best for money, best for radio stations and best for himself. He’s not doing what’s best for the overall health of the genre. The difference between myself and Mr. Hill is I’m worried about the latter. I care about the art, where as he is concerned with the financial benefit of said art.


  12. musicschedulinguniversity June 4, 2015 / 4:51 pm

    whoa… stand back… Keith Hill here… I think my open letter to Leslie Fram explains things… get ready to read


    I know you feel my comments were reckless. I too have been in the radio business for quite a while. I started in 1973 at the age of 13. I have consulted country radio since 1992. I have attended CRS almost every year. The motto of the CRS is “growth through sharing.” I am nearing retirement. (I know that’s good news to you) I was asked to be on a panel about music scheduling. I helped to design that panels content. I led off by teaching basics. I showed an hour of scheduled music. Showed columns of coding. Tempo… use slow medium fast.. (and talked about the nuances of that) Talked about coding gender.. Male, Female, Instrumental (if any) and the additive code of Group. Alabama would be a male group. The Judds a female group. Lady Antebellum I would code female group when female is the lead vocal. Then we talked about core-non core, star- non star, sound codes, artist separations and densities. In explain how to get listeners to listen longer I shared the thoughtful way to spread codes. I did explain that we get 75% of our quarter hour currency from women listeners and that ironically their tsl (time spent listening) behavior drops when you play a higher percentage than 15% females in your mix. Now that’s a fact. I have programmed well over 300 Country formatted US radio stations. When I get the female component to that spot tsl is optimized. I have removed females songs from libraries that have more than that and the ratings went up. I have tested the floor and ceiling on this metric. I have studied it in focus groups, qualitative research and psychological research. I even know why women respond to the radio this way. I gave away that metric for free. That’s actually a trade secret. But I did so because CRS asks for growth though sharing. I have studied the sonics, frequencies, contents items, and instrumentation and their effects on listener behavior. Just like in the book Freak – A -Nomics there are some very controversial conclusions you come to based upon… math. Yes I understand this is art. Got it. But my job is to get people to consume more if it. Just like selling ice cold water, beer and soda at ballparks on the 4th of July… you can tell me how misguided I am and that I have offended the Coffee Growers Association. I purvey what is consumed. When spoken at CRS 6 years ago and this year… not a question was asked about that metric. It was reprised in Country Air Check to help young broadcasters who can’t afford or make it to CRS, and who do not have mentors, (I know that’s horrifying to you) or consultants or VPs of programming. It was intended for radio industry consumption. I am not a sexist. I have not set back us 30 years. I am not a caveman Luddite. Now let me share with you… I UNDERSTAND THE OPTICS OF THIS. We both hope that we evolve to be a civil and fair society. Where meritocracy is all that is at work. We do not look at race, creed, religion, sex, national origin in making hiring and housing decisions. And that is codified in the law. I understand the legions of women who have taken to local and social media and called me 100 foul names. (You were civil and thanks for that!) When I get on a plane I don’t mind when the captain is a female. Because I am sure the airline has chosen wisely and that flying a plane is mostly a; from the neck up operation… hands are also required. We live where doctors, lawyers and CMT executives are females. Yeah for that! So when a woman who knows personally by having been on the receiving end of bias, opens up her paper and reads that some radio know it all says… 15% females… she THINKS… that’s wrong, that’s bias, and certainly sexist. Well she’d be wrong… but I understand EXACTLY why she thinks that. First the metric is so low. 50% would make sense to her. Heck 40% would be disappointing but she’d say… ok. But 15%… that can’t be right!!! Prima Facia … planet population statistics can’t square with that! But she’d be wrong. Mostly because she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. And that is that radio will do what ever optimizes audience and revenue. If, 80% females in our mix garnered the highest ratings THAT IS WHAT WE WOULD PLAY. Now let me tell you what I “FEEL” about your comments. They are reckless and destructive, blind to facts, and the gravity of the marketplace. You did not dispute my facts and for that I thank you. I have offered money to any station that in a top 100 market, top 5 rated now… Country formatted currently that will play 50% females. There are no takers.
    You may not know it… but I’d like to see female artist get the best possible opportunity at airplay. I think the metrics optics look awful to the unknowing of the actual audience responses and why they reposed the way they do. I don’t know if there is a heaven or if there are genders there. It would be nice if we were equal there. I get that it would be desirable here. Some have said to me “there ought to be a law”.. That would be the “The Gender Fairness Act” from the FCC. And they could mandate you on CMT and radio to play 50% females. (our ratings would go down) But the metric would look good. It LOOKS and SOUNDS awful to say 15%! As for tomatoes, I have used this analogy to describe radio scheduling for years. I was reminded by an oldies PD I consulted that I described the core songs by stars like The Beatles, Beach Boys, Four Tops, Supremes, Simon & Garfunkel, Barbara Streisand as the LETTUCE and the artists with fewer songs Don McLean, Lobo etc as tomatoes. And after all of the epithets that have been thrown at me… I can now imagine trying to be sexist with descriptors for that 15% of women that would have been truly disparaging. Leslie… we can dialogue. I am open, and open to learn. But you don’t know me, my heart, my intentions. I’ll tell you but ,if you don’t believe me … we can wait til we are both inside the gates of heaven where it will be clear… but I am now nor have I ever been a sexist. Keith Hill


    • Josh Schott June 4, 2015 / 6:10 pm

      Hello Mr. Hill,

      First off thanks for visiting and responding right here on the site. Most people I call out don’t have the guts to issue a rebuttal and I commend you for this.

      As I told Barbara right above you, I know exactly what your job is and where you’re coming from. I think you are now well aware of why you came off as sexist, even though you didn’t mean to come off this way. I completely get your reasoning. I say on the site that the country music format has been male dominated for the last five years or so, but really this has been like this going back to at least the 80s. I addressed this very thing in an infographic last year:

      From the graphic, which was conducted of September of 2014, at the time only 10% of songs to reach #1 on the Hot Country chart were by females. In 1984, 17.64% of #1 songs were by female artists. In a 30 year span, it’s only a 7% difference. Obviously there were big differences between the way these charts were conducted at their respective times, but the gist of it is males have always dominated the genre. It’s pretty much ingrained and once again I get it.

      I’ll also reiterate this, which is what I said above to Barbara: You’re making female artists feel like they’re being punished for not having a penis. You’re not saying they aren’t getting played because of their music. You’re basically saying they’re not getting played because of who they are. They can’t control that and I can imagine how incensed they are to be told this. I know this isn’t you being mean-spirited on your part, but based on numbers. You’re also insinuating that a terrible song by a male artist is more suited to be played than a good song by a female artist. Numbers and data can’t listen to music and tell you the quality of it. Music is an art form. That’s why robots will never make music, only people can make music. This reminds me of the scene in the movie iRobot. It’s set in the future where robots are present in every aspect of society. Will Smith’s character recalls being involved in a car accident. Both cars crash into the water. In one car there’s Smith and the other a father and his daughter. The father is killed upon impact, but Smith and the little girl are still alive. A passing robot shows up and assesses the situation. Based on the robot’s data, Smith is said to have a 45% chance of living and the girl at 11%. So the robot saves him, despite his pleas to save the girl. As he says a human being would know that. Robots have no heart, just lights and clockwork.

      My whole of this little anecdote is that data and numbers are just like robots. They are based solely on logic. No heart or emotion is involved. Now you tell me: Is music logical or emotional? I think you know the answer. I know you are simply doing your job and it’s based on data, but you’re applying cold, lifeless numbers to an art that is measured in emotion.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Josh Schott


      • Nattie June 4, 2015 / 9:08 pm

        Hey won’t fight you, he likes to be condescending toward female fans on Twitter.


  13. Kate June 4, 2015 / 6:08 pm

    Josh Schott agree w/ your reply about Lambert/Musgraves and Bobby Bones is a rocker wannabe who does what he is told even when he tells you he is bucking the system. Keith Hill, want to explain your veiled threat to Miranda on your podcast? Stating “Miranda is going to have backlash with radio- not Dixie Chicks bad….”? She said your advise was BS, not radio so? Because the little lady had a different opinion? Really? Also you said she tweeted out your career was over- actually no she said taking out girls to get ratings was BS. Facts not your strong suit?

    Liked by 1 person

    • musicschedulinguniversity June 5, 2015 / 10:11 am

      Sure…. you will notice that she is silent now. Martina is silent, Miranda is silent, Jennifer is silent, (and jennifer said “big ole vagina shaped opportunity” that is sexist… it would be the same as me saying big ole (make part that beings with p) shaped opportunity. This issue is quieting because while Martina who is nice and thoughtful didn’t think this through. Facts are facts and my strong suit. I have reached out to Martina to talk in a civil way about this. All of the management of these acts I suspect have told them… yes yes… this asshole hurt your feelings but you don’t want to fight this fight. We know record sales and we know radio airplay. As Laura Ingraham said… “Shut Up and Sing” .. you will also note Blake, Brad, Keith Urban etc haven’t reached out. I talked to one the manager of one of those who told me… he understands. She did personally tweet me my career was over. Everyone of my facts stands. I didn’t threaten Miranda. I predicted she will have backlash… and I believe that has started with her calculus and management that this ain’t worth messing with. She is part of the lottery winning females in life who has won. I get that she wants to fight for the girls in Nashville. But it would truly injure her to make it a big campaign. Martina is shutting her T Shirt sales down in one day. Record execs, artists who have made it will go silent. No threats to Miranda … just a prediction. I feel she is the only one who was threatening by tweeting me that my career was over. Her’s is not and wouldn’t be over if she took on this issue with great passion dollars time and effort. But her records sales and concert attendance would atrophy some… because she would be upsetting some folks. Better to be for apple pie, mom, America, the troops (Dixie Chicks know that one) than to pick any controversy. Yes women deserve a fair shake and air play. And what I said APPEARS so wrong but is actually CORRECT in what happens on the radio. Kate… sorry you spoke up and I do not see you presenting any facts. And the one that you purvey that Miranda did not tweet me is wrong … she did. Keith Hill


  14. bob June 5, 2015 / 9:19 am

    Agree with your point that “This needs to be about all quality artists being left out, not just all female country artists.”

    For anyone interested there’s an article in today’s on-line Washington Post, “#SaladGate saga continues: Why aren’t Nashville’s male superstars speaking up about lack of women on country radio?”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. musicschedulinguniversity June 5, 2015 / 10:35 am

    maybe this will help …. I saw this post and responded…. does this help world???

    Dale Wall · Top Commenter
    What makes it so frustrating that so call country radio and award shows won’t play the women of country music but they will play any artist from any other music and treat the women that are already in country music like 3rd class citizens, Women vote , They have flown into Space, in 2012 the 1st female members in 80 years were allowed at the Augusta Golf Club – home of the Masters , this year the NFL will have it’s 1st female referee and in 2016 we could elect the 1st woman president, BUT country music still won’t give the women of country music the respect they have earned and deserve, Country music as a business is as sexist as it gets,, I think a lot has to do with it is male dominated , maybe it is pass time to get some women calling the shots.
    Reply · Like · Unfollow Post · 15 hours ago

    Keith Hill · Owner at Self-Employed
    Dale… I agree with you about the pride in every other enterprise you mention.. going to space. The masters.. Yeah Girl power! I am not even against more women on the radio. Its just when we play more than 15% ratings go down. So you have what I would call (and I think I’m right about this) disconnected logic. I had to explain this to someone who used it in reverse. When ice cream sales go up there are more murders…so ice cream sales cause more murders. No summer time is the connection.. people are out hot.. and eat ice cream and well get into angry hostilities more. Thats a correlation! Ice cream and murder is not a correlation. The numbers track the same. I have no acrimony to women running the worldm A woman president, an all woman congress, an all woman supreme court, every lawyer, doctor, anything be a woman. Its just when you play more than 15% of them on country radio ratings go down.


    • Josh Schott June 5, 2015 / 11:40 am

      You keep hammering the 15% thing and I told you already I heard you. It’s apparently not clear to you we’re looking at this from different angles. You can rationalize what you do and your advice all you want, but at the end of the day you still have blood on your hands, whether it’s by choice or not. Your advice, data-driven and analytic as it may be, is still telling radio not to play women and that’s actively hurting them. I remember having to dissect situations just like these in my ethics class. You have a very Kantian approach to this issue, where as I have more of a Utilitarian approach. These views clearly clash. We both want something different, therefore it would be best for us to agree to disagree.


  16. Derek Hudgin June 5, 2015 / 12:07 pm

    How about this: slowly and gradually increase female songs on radio. You say 15%, Mr. Hill. Well how about in June we increase it from 15 to 16 or 17%. Just a gradual increase. And build from there. Get listeners feet wet (so to speak) with hearing more females on the radio. Then come August, boost it up a little more to say 18 or 19%.

    Jumping immediately from 15 to 50% would be jarring and result in a huge ratings drop. We get that. But if radio execs gradually progress the amount of females played on a daily basis, there’s a good chance that more will be accepted by the listeners who are basically radio drones. The people who created this mess by allowing more and more guys to enter radio have the same opportunity to reverse it. Gradual increase in the percentage of women played. And maybe by this time next year, the female play count could be doubled or better.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Don June 8, 2015 / 4:30 pm

    I do not understand why Keith Hill even bothers. Talk about shooting the messenger. Basic economics is confusing to most Americans. Just because you don’t like the data, doesn’t mean the data isn’t true. It’s up to someone else to prove the data wrong the way I see it. What are we going to do? Create socialist country? Force everything to be equal? Life isn’t fair. I think Lindi Ortega deserves her own channel, but that isn’t going to happen. Jamie Lin Wilson’s album is my favorite this year hands down, but she won’t make the radio. You can’t force people to listen to what they don’t want to listen to. That’s why Sam Hunt reigns supreme, and I don’t listen to the radio.


  18. (@Roughstock) June 17, 2015 / 2:29 pm

    Kacey Musgraves had a bigger push at radio and marketing budget wise than virtually any of the other artists on the charts. Especially larger than Cole Swindell. He just had more ‘instant fans’ thanks to “Chillin’ It” and his association with the genre’s top star, Luke Bryan. Fair or not that’s the truth.


    • Josh Schott June 17, 2015 / 4:07 pm

      I’ll concede those points. However, there’s a huge difference between Cole Swindell’s lead major single “Chillin’ It” and Musgraves’ “Merry Go ‘Round.” Swindell’s single was much safer and pandered to current trends, whereas Musgraves’ single challenged the current popular sound and offered criticism on rural America that most artists wouldn’t dare to do in fear of alienation. So while Swindell performed better on the charts and sales wise, Musgraves by far was better in a critical and quality sense. It received recognition from Rolling Stone, NPR and Billboard on year end lists in addition to winning a Grammy. Meanwhile Swindell has been lambasted by serious critics for his boring and milquetoast offerings. When it comes down to it the majority would agree that Musgraves is a higher quality artist and “Merry Go ‘Round” is better than “Chillin’ It.” Yet radio played “Chillin’ It” more. I should have probably never brought up the marketing point because Musgraves could throw double what she has behind her marketing now and it still wouldn’t do any good. All Swindell has to do is regurgitate the same song over and over and radio will play him.

      Back to the marketing point, I will say this: it was much easier for Swindell to break in than Kacey. The easy reason of course is because he’s a male artist. His association with Luke Bryan was his marketing strategy and the rest is history. Whereas Mercury has been questioned by many (including myself) with their marketing push behind Kacey due to her lack of radio play. They did same thing with Jamey Johnson and he’s no longer with the label. Mercury doesn’t know how to promote Kacey at all. Of course country radio doesn’t seem to want her either (see airplay charts and the Bobby Bones feud) and I wouldn’t be surprised if she goes independent within the next five years. This is despite the fact that she’s won multiple Grammy Awards and has brought eyes to country music that normally don’t dare to look towards country music. Not to mention she outsold Swindell and multiple other bro artists in album sales.


Comments are closed.