Wow, country radio consultant Keith Hill actually said this:
“If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out…The reason is mainstream country radio generates more quarter hours from female listeners at the rate of 70 to 75%, and women like male artists….Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of the salad are the females.”
Where does one even go with that? I really don’t know. The willful gender imbalance is disheartening for sure, and it’s been ongoing for a while now as the mainstream component of the genre has gotten to be all about the songs about partying in the woods with the moonshine and hawt gurrrrl and whatnot. Worse yet, though, is the contention that the women in the country radio (you’ll note I didn’t say country music) audience who are driving that gender imbalance. The implications of such are absolutely staggering. I really do shudder to think that women are, shall we say, enabling their objectification, especially in this day and age. Of course, talking about that takes us down a different path pretty quick, namely, if the modern woman wants to enable her objectification, then who are we to say she’s wrong to want to do so? Not that I agree with that, but it would make for an interesting discussion elsewhere.
But here’s the deal:
While what Keith Hill said was rather offensive, I’m having a rather difficult time getting as worked up about it as everyone else is. Does it suck that more females aren’t on country radio? In a way you could say that, but ask yourself this:
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.
But maybe that’s just me…