EASTVALE (CBSLA) — Country music stars Kacey Musgraves and Kelsea Ballerini took to Twitter Thursday after a Michigan-based country music station tweeted it could not play two female singers back-to-back.
It all started when Chris Willman, an editor for Variety, sent out a sarcastic tweet after hearing two female singers played back-to-back on Los Angeles-based station Go Country 105 FM.
I turned on the 105.1 country station in L.A. just now, and they were playing the new song by Gabby Barrett, and then, without any pause or interruption at all, they went into a Kelsea Ballerini song. Can’t they get fined for that?
— Chris Willman (@ChrisWillman) January 15, 2020
“And then you have this station come into my Twitter feed and say, ‘No, actually, that’s a real rule,'” Willman said.
In the since-deleted tweet, a Saginaw, Michigan station, 98 KCQ Country, said, “We cannot play two females back to back. Not even Lady Antebellum or Little Big Town against another female. I applaud their courage.”
“I think that’s what really set people off was to see someone finally admit it,” Wilman said.
Willman said it has long been an unspoken rule at some country stations.
“I have heard about it,” Christine Martindale, a radio personality for Go Country 105, said. “A lot of stations don’t play females back-to-back, and it’s a shame.”
Martindale said Go Country 105 listeners request female artists just as frequently as male artists. But a song data study found that for every 9.7 songs by male artists played, only 1 song by a female artist was played in 2018.
“Radio passes the buck to their listeners to say listeners don’t want to hear women that much,” Willman said.
But some powerful female artists were speaking out against the Michigan’s station tweet.
And yet, they can play 18 dudes who sound exactly the same back to back. Makes total sense.
— K A C E Y M U S G R A V E S (@KaceyMusgraves) January 16, 2020
To all the ladies that bust their asses to have half the opportunities that men do, I’m really sorry that in 2020, after YEARS of conversation of equal play, there are still some companies that make their stations play by these rules. It’s unfair and it’s incredibly disappointing https://t.co/95CtnVLlHh
— Kelsea Ballerini (@KelseaBallerini) January 16, 2020
The pair received an outpouring of support from fans and friends, including a response by the official account for the show “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” which shared a video from a recent segment on sexism in country music.
Kacey gets it! This isn’t elementary school. Radio stations don’t need to play artists boy-girl-boy-girl and they CERTAINLY don’t need to play artists boy-boy-boy-boy-girl-boy-boy. We had a great segment on this last night: https://t.co/o8tJqoDa3e
— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) January 16, 2020
And, at least for this country music lover, who sings the song was less important than the song itself.
“As long as I like the song, I don’t care what they’re playing,” Jessica Moe said.
And Martindale agreed.
“It just matters how it makes people feel,” she said.
And Martindale said there are so many up-and-coming women in country music who deserve to have their music heard — just as much as men.