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Women Shortchanged in Country Music Airplay

Given that Governor Kristi Noem has latched onto big-town-raised, big-city-resident Jason Aldean’s committee-written, pretend-country paean to small-town violence and xenophobic small-mindedness for her latest desperate gasp for attention, we probably can’t expect her to speak up about the sexism inherent in contemporary corporate “country” music (hat tip to author Eve Fisher!):

Most maddeningly, if women in country wanted to get airplay, they needed to be sweet and bat their eyes at the male gatekeepers at local radio affiliates. According to “Her Country,” a book by Marissa R. Moss, Musgraves—who had made a spectacular major-label début in 2013, with her album “Same Trailer Different Park”—saw her country career derailed when she objected to a creepy d.j. named Broadway ogling her thighs during an interview. Then the nation’s biggest country d.j., Bobby Bones, called her “rude” and a “shit head.” After that, her path forked elsewhere.

In 2015, a radio consultant named Keith Hill gave an interview to a trade publication, Country Aircheck Weekly, in which he made the implicit explicit: “If you want to make ratings in Country radio, take females out.” For a station to succeed, no more than fifteen per cent of its set list could feature women, he warned—and never two songs in a row. He described women as “the tomatoes of the salad,” to be used sparingly.

…Never playing women back to back was an official recommendation dating to the eighties, formalized in a training document called the “Programming Operations Manual.” The situation worsened after 1996, when the Telecommunications Act permitted companies to buy up an unlimited number of radio stations; the dial is now ruled by the behemoth iHeartRadio, which has codified old biases into algorithms.

Since 2000, the proportion of women on country radio has sunk from thirty-three to eleven per cent. Black women currently represent just 0.03 per cent [Emily Nussbaum, “Country Music’s Culture Wars and the Remaking of Nashville,” The New Yorker, 2023.07.17].

But let’s not interrupt the easy-money bro-country hits with any kind of feminine sensibility or actual country music talent.


  1. grudznick 2023-07-23 07:43

    Today, at the Conservatives with Common Sense breakfasting, in lieu of the Opening Rant we shall listen to a tape recording of this song about big-city violence by Mr. Aldean and then the debates shall center on the appropriateness of citizens taking matters into their own hands when protesters turn into criminals and start endangering everybody and everybody’s responsibility to thump them down when they are destroying private property. You don’t see that nonsense happing in Highmore now, do you?

  2. sx123 2023-07-23 07:48

    Everything in Aldean’s song, and more, happen in small towns all the time.

  3. Phil 2023-07-23 08:19

    Ironically, if one were to play that song with video clips from January 6, the words still work. Maybe what Kristi is saying is that if those kind of hooligans were to ransack and vandalize the state Capitol in Pierre while hunting down legislators, disrespecting the flag, assaulting police officers, and threatening to hang somebody; Miss Law and Order would show them that wouldn’t get far in our small town of a state. The National Guard would kick their asses, and the leftover pieces would be thrown in the pokey. Getting up on a stage to sing crappy ballad songs while wearing a dirty t shirt, ripped up jeans, and a cowboy hat found in a dumpster doesn’t make one a country artist, even though the unwashed masses may think you’re a star.

  4. Tom 2023-07-23 08:28

    and I thought everyone liked Dolly for her music…

  5. jerry 2023-07-23 08:43

    Country music is afraid of the women folk. Women’s are too damn complicated for rubes to even think they have something to say or even to sing about. The first thing a small town bar would say to this guy is “you ain’t from around here, cause ya got all your teeth”. Then they would put a whoopin on him. Dude only sings tough. Run into a couple of good old boys in Hill City or many other places after they have had a few beers. That’s why you never see these frauds alone, they always have some paid muscle with them.

  6. grudznick 2023-07-23 08:48

    Ms. Uhre can’t sing very well. What are you saying?

  7. Bob Newland 2023-07-23 08:56

    Ethan Hawke said Kris Kristofferson said to Toby Keith, “What you’re doing to country music is what panty hose did to finger f***kn.” Take note, Jason. You ain’t country.

  8. larry kurtz 2023-07-23 08:58

    Aside from Farmington, New Mexico it’s difficult to find a more racist POS little town than Rapid City.

  9. Donald Pay 2023-07-23 09:22

    First of all, small town can have up to 5,000 people, according to the US Census definition. There are a lot of different towns in South Dakota that meet that definition. They aren’t all the same. Some of these small towns are liberal strongholds Some are on reservations. Some are communities close to larger cities like Rapid City or Sioux Falls. Some are communities in the vast rural areas of the state.

    Second, I used to work with rural and small town people in the conservative areas of the state. I know they held views on various issues that were different from mine, but we were able to work together effectively on other issues. Through working together we gained a respect for each other, and an ability to see other people’s viewpoints as valid, even if we didn’t agree on everything.

    I never felt threatened or intimidated by a small town thug, like Jason Aldean pretends to be. Folks in small towns aren’t different from folks in any other place. In fact, I’ve found that larger cities are really just a series of small towns stuck together.

  10. cibvet 2023-07-23 09:47

    There was a time in country music when the singer could be understood and the band music was the background.
    Now days the band is terribly loud while the singer preforms antics on stage and shoots off fireworks. There were many great
    female country singers from 50 or 60 years ago who remain quite popular today and are played frequently on Willies roadhouse.

  11. All Mammal 2023-07-23 09:57

    Mr. Aldean’s version of good ol boys, raised up right is frightening as hell, I ain’t gon lie. And the entire song brings to mind sundown towns. They’re still a thing and KN and Aldean are very proud of that.

    Dolly Parton is one of the best songwriters in all of music and anyone who doesn’t think she works double (D) what any man in her field call work is too infatuated with her life preservers to notice her talent. She’s in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame as well. Plus she has donated millions of books to kids’ literacy. Ms. Parton gets so much hate for her looks and yet she is still sweeter than honeybee ooze on the windshield. And with that hair, you know she is a huge advocate for the drag crowd. Jason Aldean is a carnie, at best.

  12. bearcreekbat 2023-07-23 10:43

    The anecdotal evidence I have experienced while living in towns of varying sizes, from extremely small to major cities, fully supports Donald Pay’s observations. Stereotyping people from any size town is lazy thinking and a fool’s errand.

  13. 96Tears 2023-07-23 11:02
  14. sx123 2023-07-23 12:20

    @96tears – pick a town, any town. Dumb shi*t happens. Aldean’s song is pure fantasy.

  15. Arlo Blundt 2023-07-23 13:18

    Please recall that “Okie From Muskogee”, the ultimate red neck peon to “small towns” , was written by Merle Haggard in the back of his tour bus while ripped on some very pleasant pot. He was trying to write the most absurd nonsense in response to the Nixon impeachment as an “inside joke” and only recorded it after Willie Nelson and other C and W counter culture freaks told him it was too good a satire to pass up. I think several the John Mellancamp songs “Pink Houses” and “”Small Town” pretty much sum up the ethos of living in a small town.

  16. All Mammal 2023-07-23 13:19

    I forgot to mention- I freaking love you, Bossman. That shtuff is classic.

    A couple of my top two favorite rappers, Killer Mike and Ice Cube, already wrote the perfect song that waffle stomps Mr. and Mrs. Shmashmerican values. Please read :

    [Malcolm X]
    Who are you?
    You don’t know?
    Don’t tell me ‘Negro’
    That’s nothing
    What were you before the white man named you a ‘Negro’?
    What was your name?
    It couldn’t have been ‘Smith’ or ‘Jones’ or ‘Bush’ or ‘Powell’
    That wasn’t your name
    They don’t have those kind of names where you and I came from
    No what was your name?
    And why don’t you now know what your name was then?
    Where was your history?
    How did a man wipe out your history?
    How did the man, what did the man do to make you as dumb, as you are right now?
    [Killer Mike]
    Motherfckas I just bought some new chuckas
    The old ones bloodied up from stomping out mo’ suckas
    Big bad Killa
    Big black gorilla
    King Kong on you monkey a$s niggas
    Step and fetch funky as$, flunky as$ niggas
    Dick-in-the-booty for your Massa’ as$ niggas
    I don’t fear no man
    Not Bush not Clinton not Osama
    Ask your Uncle Thomas how he choose Massa’ over Obama
    You could have a million dollars and a white collar
    Liberation costs more then a damn dollar
    It costs what Christ gave
    King gave
    X gave
    A billion dollars don’t make you an ex-slave
    Nigga With an Attitude since fifth grade
    I never behave
    Rather be a dead man than a live slave

    We can say what we like
    Put the pressure on ’em
    Ice Cube and Killer Mike
    Put the pressure on ’em
    I can do what I want
    Put the pressure on ’em
    But god dammit I’m gonna
    Put the pressure on ’em
    Put the pressure on ’em
    Homie put the pressure on ’em
    Put the pressure on ’em
    Homie put the pressure on ’em
    Put the pressure on ’em
    Homie put the pressure on ’em
    Cause pressure bust pipes
    Pressure bust pipes
    [Ice Cube:]
    I’m here to deprogram you
    Don’t forget what they made your great grandmama do
    What they made your great granddaddy do
    Without a dollar or a penny or a thank you
    The same motherfckers wanna gank you
    Cause they hate you and the pussyy that you came through
    Can anybody tell me that it ain’t true?
    That these motherfckers ain’t out to hurt you
    They’ll lock you up, beat you up and work you
    Put your life on a thirty year curfew
    Little cell little window for you to look through
    Even gotta a little chair where he can cook you
    Nigga please I’mma be in the breeze
    Beat ’em up with my plan like the Japanese
    Now I’m overseas
    And I’m trapping these
    Thank God I didn’t have to cock and squeeze


    [Killer Mike]
    Black politicians stop bullshtting
    And you funky black preachers with your pulpit
    Our kings had dreams and a big vision
    All you give us is government and religion
    Is you a freedom fighter or a stool pigeon
    Is you down for your people in the big mission
    Or you a dirty nigga working for a fcking Clinton
    Or you dirty nigga working for a fcking Bush
    Another message for the politicians:
    Better get the police off our as$ quickly
    If another old lady die in this city
    Swear to god we will burn down the fcking city
    Big schemes
    Big dreams
    Yeah I’m with it folk
    But twenty years for selling dope just a fcking joke
    And so what, you the man with that white man?
    Probation got your answering to a white man

    [Killer Mike]
    God dammit the Red Dogs and Ramparts running rampant
    These pigs going ham sammich
    In New York killed a young brother
    In Atlanta killed a grandmother
    And politicians say ‘save the planet’
    Fck that, save us dammit!
    From the black pigs helped ’em kill Sean Bell
    I hope it’s five degrees hotter for your as$ in hell
    Race traitin’ ba$tard, you less than trash
    I hope when Jesus come back he murder your as$
    So you burn in hell ’til you turn white ash
    To the one that say ‘sorry’ tell’ em ‘kiss our as$’
    We don’t need em motherfcker you can keep it for yourself
    I wish you nothing but pain and bad health
    I hope luck run away from you and wealth
    No honor in life no honor in death
    You a Judas to us, nigga kill yourself


    [Malcolm X]
    No Negro leaders have fought for civil rights
    They have begged for civil rights
    They have begged the white man for civil rights
    They have begged the white man for freedom
    And anytime you beg another man to set you free
    You will never be free
    Freedom is something you have to do for yourselves
    And until the American Negro lets the white man know
    That we are really really ready and willing to pay the price that is necessary for freedom
    Our people will always be walking around and second class citizens or what you call twentieth century slaves
    (What price are you talking about sir?)
    The price of freedom is death


  17. grudznick 2023-07-23 13:25

    Ms. Mammal, grudznick doesn’t think Ms. Parton can sing any better than Ms. Uhre.

    Mr. Tears, you know much about Highmore. I am impressed.

  18. e platypus onion 2023-07-23 13:43

    A pox on Parton for penning and recording the deplorable, “I Will Always Love You.” This is as bad or worse than “I Am Prowd To Be An American.” Two songs that would get zero airolay anywhere if I was in charge. And Greenwood would be burnt at the stake if he survived being bundled up and thrown in the worst polluted river in America. Time for Dolly to retire from public life.

  19. P. Aitch 2023-07-23 13:55

    Priceless hip-hop, All Mammal. Thanks for sharing. :)

  20. e platypus onion 2023-07-23 13:55

    From Aldean’s lyrics to right wing news sites those lyrics are most assuredly tilted at POC. and Liberals., from what I have seen on videos and read on the ‘Net.

    Consider how many ammosexuals have failed to come to the aid of victims of violent crimes. This includes law enforcement officials too afraid of getting themselves perforated to protect school children. So now the powers that be claim law enforcement officers have no obligation to risk their lives to save others. So how do they interpret to protect and serve?

  21. P. Aitch 2023-07-23 14:02

    Just curious so we asked The Assistant to examine why country music radio won’t play more than 15% women artists and never two women artists in a row.
    – The underrepresentation of women performers on country music radio is a complex issue that can be influenced by various factors. While there is no definitive answer, several reasons have been proposed to explain this phenomenon. It’s important to note that these reasons may not be applicable to all radio stations and industry practices, as they can vary.

    1. Historical biases: Country music has traditionally been heavily influenced by male artists, both in terms of popularity and industry executives. This historical trend may have inadvertently resulted in biases towards male performers, leading to fewer opportunities for women artists.

    2. Lack of market demand perception: Radio stations often rely on audience ratings and market research for programming decisions. Some may argue that there is a perception that male artists have a greater market demand, leading to more airtime for them. If listeners predominantly request or favor male artists, radio programmers may feel compelled to cater to these preferences.

    3. Male-dominated decision-making: The country music industry, like many other industries, has been historically dominated by men, which can influence decision-making processes. If the decision-makers at radio stations predominantly consist of men, it could potentially contribute to the skewed representation of women artists.

    4. Limited airtime: Radio is a finite resource, and there is limited airtime available for programming. With a vast catalog of country songs to choose from, radio stations may face difficulties striking a balance between different artists and genres. Consequently, this could result in fewer slots allocated for women performers.

    5. Perceived risk-taking: Additionally, radio programmers may be cautious in taking risks with their programming choices. Some may believe that audiences are more likely to respond positively to familiar, established male artists, leading to a reluctance to feature lesser-known or emerging women performers.

    6. Industry investment and promotion: The music industry’s investment and promotion practices may also contribute to the underrepresentation of women artists on country radio. Historically, labels and promoters have tended to focus more resources on male artists, including marketing and radio promotion. Consequently, this uneven distribution of resources can affect the visibility and exposure of women performers.

    Addressing this issue requires collective effort from industry stakeholders, including radio stations, record labels, artists, and listeners. Encouraging diversity, promoting talent, supporting women artists, and challenging biases can help contribute to a more equitable and inclusive representation of women performers on country music radio. – P. Aitch’s Assistant

  22. larry kurtz 2023-07-23 14:04

    Don’t expect Mrs. Noem to applaud The Chicks for dropping Dixie from their band’s name.

  23. Donald Pay 2023-07-23 15:21

    I used to listen to a lot of country music in the mid 70s and again in the 1990s. I sort of loathed disco back then, though now I sort of like some of it, But at the time, I switched over to country during the “oulaw” period. The 70s was definitely dominated by the males, but after the “outlaws” it sort of became too pop oriented. I stopped listening to country for a while. Didn’t particularly like the “hat acts.” Then my daughter caught the wave of the new female country artists of 1990s. Back then women had attained almost equality in terms of popularity, and they seemed particularly popular with girls and young women. I’m not sure about airplay. Radio has been dominated by males mostly no matter what genre you’re talking about. It seemed the females got quite a lot of airplay in the 1990s. Country music goes through cycles. For sure, women have to put up with a lot more b.s.

  24. larry kurtz 2023-07-23 16:04

    and a historian and author of the forthcoming Dynamite Nashville: The FBI, The KKK, and the Bombers Beyond their Control, explains: “There were at least two lynchings in Columbia, but I can’t stress enough that there were many, many lynchings in the surrounding counties.”

    Asked whether she believes Aldean had direct knowledge of the Maury County Courthouse’s frightening history, Phillips points to interviews where Aldean has boasted, “I haven’t read a book since high school.”

  25. e platypus onion 2023-07-23 16:06

    Chely Wright was an up and coming star with several good/great videos until she came out of the closet and was blackballed immediately.

    Dixie Chicks crime was to say they were ashamed dumbass dubya was a fellow Texan. Look what happened to them.

    Hank Jr blasted Obama as potus at the iowa state fair and you basically got crickets from country music and magats.

  26. leslie 2023-07-23 16:31

    P. you must be talking ‘bout women’s football!!

    Here’s a focused artist who spotlit a talented songwriter’s prescient lyric and haunting melody with a crack band, of all that has gone wrong and is still going on the Texas border, and she was then pushed aside by the industry.

    This kind of blend of real country sentiment with counter culture talent as Arlo lamented above, would not have been possible before the Grease Band devastated the crowd of 500,000 idealistic young people at Yasgur’s farm.

    Now we’ve got women in top military leadership. “Southern change gonna come at last”!!

    Maybe Republicans can eliminate woman AND democracy to please Koch industries.

  27. Jake 2023-07-23 16:51

    Grudz without reading past your first comment, I need to answer: No, maybe not in Highmore, (a neat little town it is) but your cohorts and much “like-minded’ idiots that followed your former POTUS on his attempt to over-throw our government (and their conservative continuance
    of said overthrow) are surely making themselves to be of a likeness to the Jason Aldean’s “song”–a “Trojan Horse” if I ever saw one!

  28. Jake 2023-07-23 16:58

    To quote Aldean “I haven’t read a book since high-school” show us his (and his supporting fans like our governor and others like her) how shallow of human-beings they are to edify or make “god-like” a singer of his immature, misogynistic, homophobic outlook; which is also a trademark of so many Republicans in our state of SD. Damned shame, it is. Had they not been so, they would never have voted again for the likes of the former POTUS, now would they have?

  29. Richard Schriever 2023-07-23 19:34

    grudz, in the Fall of 1969, I visited Highmore as a guest of a fellow USD student for his HS home-coming celebrations. We were promptly jumped and beaten by a group of local residents AND the Sherrif surreptitiously in an effort to break up the fight. Our “crime”(s)? Having long hair and dancing with local girls to Sherwin Linton’s music. It led to a Highway Patrol escort to the Miller hospital to get treatment for my broken nose. Then later, to a visit to the good ole boys’ attorney’s office in Pierre for a discussion about payment for hospital bills. I can’t imagine so much has changed, given the recent history of events in that town.

  30. Richard Schriever 2023-07-23 19:41

    In 2017, Aldean came into a local restaurant in a small WVA town and ordered 65 burritos 10 minutes before closing. He did NOT TIP any of the staff that strayed after hours to provide him service. When one of the employees posted the story on social media (it went viral) his staff contacted the owner of the restaurant and got that employee fired. Aldean was the performer on stage when the shooting started in Las Vegas at the CM festival, also in 2017. He ran off stage ASAP and went to NO ONE’s aid. In 2019, he recorded the song “Review Town”, about moving to the city from a small town because he found small town life sucked. I believe the correct pronoun for Aldean is “tool”.

  31. Richard Schriever 2023-07-23 19:41

    Rearview Town

  32. grudznick 2023-07-23 19:42

    Mr. P.h appears to be regurgitating some AI. You need to switch to grudznAIc, Mr. P.h. It will get your mind bent righter.

  33. Bob Newland 2023-07-23 19:45

    The Bossman melted at the praise.

  34. grudznick 2023-07-23 19:46

    Mr. Schriever, I hope the lesson was taken to heart.

    Get a haircut and don’t be dancing with the local girls. I believe this might have been a formative moment in your youth. I bet you wish you had grudznick’s counsel back then, don’t you. Save you a beating or three, I expect.

  35. P. Aitch 2023-07-23 20:16

    Of course I’m passing on AI information, grudznichts. And I watermark everything I pass on from AI research. I hide nothing and have no reason to make people think the research or intellect is mine. My ego doesn’t need it.
    – Sorry, grudzie but you’ll never understand or be able to use AI to anyone’s benefit. It’s not something you’ll be able to navigate so just hush up and learn from The Assistant. That is all.

  36. Arlo Blundt 2023-07-23 20:58

    Grudznick–“Get a Haircut and a Job” is not found in any statute, nor in any sacred book. It is just a redneck mantra. The long hair part seems to exclude mullets. The job part is questionable.

  37. grudznick 2023-07-23 21:16

    Mullets are intolerable, Mr. Blundt. Try that in my small town.

  38. jerry 2023-07-24 04:10

    Mr. Schiever, Indeed, 58 dead at this cowards concert in Vegas. Sings tough but prolly is a bedwetter. Thanks for remembering.

  39. P. Aitch 2023-07-24 04:52

    “Try That In A Small Town” or “Us White Peoples Are The REAL Victims” exemplifies what your Governor Noem wants Hillsdale Education Standards to teach your kids.

    You okay with that, South Dakota haybilly majority?
    Of course you are ….

  40. Ben Cerwinske 2023-07-24 07:54

    I wonder what these folks would think if “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” by Johnny Cash waa released today?

  41. All Mammal 2023-07-24 13:27

    Makes me want to take a trip to Nashville to party in Garth Brooks’ joint since he stood up for love and is so refreshingly public and vocal about welcoming everybody to his bar. And he says he will proudly serve anyone a Bud Light. Heck, he stood up for Dylan Mulvaney after Bid Light tossed her to the wolves.

    It would be tempting to leave an upper decker in Kid Rock’s hateful bar while in the neighborhood of Mr. Brooks’ place in TN. He is terribly inferior to the man and legend of Garth Brooks. Kid rock is a wannabe and wastes beer. He should be charged with the same gun crime as Hunter Biden because his songs about doing drugs proves he lied on his firearm purchase application too.

    Anyway, weak men usually do not want women in their field of work because they would be forced to step up their game. Also, they hate paying a woman for her labor. And mostly, they don’t want what they actually do all day exposed. They need to keep up the act they tell their wives about how tired they are from working such long hours, when they’re really screwing the pooch all day. I’ve seen it first hand. Women are the balance that keeps the culture and economy healthy when they’re allowed out of the house. Any sector lacking women are likely to be corrupt and lazy. In my experience, that is.

  42. P. Aitch 2023-07-24 13:59

    Hear, hear All Mammal – “Any sector lacking women are likely to be corrupt and lazy.”

  43. Richard Schriever 2023-07-24 14:48

    grudz. I still have “long hair” (what’s left of it) and a full beard, and I still dance with the local gals when I visit new places. NOWHERE else have I encountered such anonymous hatred and violence. It wasn’t I who learned any lesson, it was those who were charged with assault and battery.

  44. M 2023-07-24 16:14

    It’s just plain sexism folks. Women are expected to like everything male however men don’t like female music, movies, tv programs etc., unless they are naked. It’s how we are raised; it’s called American pop culture. Country music is especially sexist, listen to the lyrics.

    Dolly Parton wrote more songs than any of you could ever list and it’s sad to say that without her fake boobs she may never have been given a chance.

  45. Arlo Blundt 2023-07-24 19:42

    All Mammel–you win today’s award for most prescient comment.

  46. grudznick 2023-07-24 21:17

    So they did thump you, Mr. Schriever? Clearly that set a muddy rut in your thinking for the rest of your life.

    grudznick does not discriminate much about any hair styles and appreciates most coifs. Except mullets. You don’t have a mullet do you? Can you show us a picture?

  47. grudznick 2023-07-24 21:27

    I shall surely understand your perspective better from hence forth. Or at least give it a good effort. Your thumping story explains a lot. You are brave to share it.

  48. V 2023-07-25 14:34

    Thank you All Mammal for all your comments.

  49. e platypus onion 2023-08-09 11:13

    Rolling Stone reports Aldean’s week at the top of Billboard chart was a fleeting memory. He dropped to 20th this week. His ride to the top lasted about the same length of time as magat outrage over every new culture war magats dream up.

    ps drumpf gleefully blamed USA’s soccer loss to Sweden on Biden. and Rapinoe.

  50. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-09 15:37

    E.P. Onion–Best “Nashville Sound” country music song…”.Kiss the Children”, a brilliant, note for note, parody of Nashville bathos, by Gram Parsons. About a cuckolded husband who advises his wife to “Kiss the Children” before he wastes her with “the shotgun on our kitchen wall”. On his first solo album I believe.

  51. e platypus onion 2023-08-09 17:22

    I will check it out, Arlo. Thanks.

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