June 3, 2015

"My stations win by taking females out. Sometimes that’s enough to go from the number three station to the number one station in a market."

Said country music consultant Keith Hill, who has advised stations to play fewer songs by female artists. Criticized for discriminating against women, Hill wields metaphor and irony:

Metaphor: "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 our salad are the females."

Irony: "In a deep irony, it’s the demand of female listeners who aren’t thinking about it. They’re just responding to that flow of song after song, and if that mix has more females in it, they turn off quicker."

ADDED: Country songs are meant to stir you on an emotional level. I prefer a male voice. It's a sexual orientation! If that's sex discrimination, it's not the bad kind of discrimination.

58 comments:

tim in vermont said...

What I don't get is why he is giving advice for free to his competition.

Brando said...

That metaphor makes no sense--who prefers lettuce to tomatoes? I would prefer a salad of just tomatoes!

traditionalguy said...

Sounds like the women like to relax to the male authority voice more than the female voice they have learned not to trust in real life.

Tank said...

In NJ we have one country station. For a long time we had zero country stations. So any country music will be listened to by anyone who wants to hear country.

More surprising, on our trips down south we've had a hard time finding more than one country station most places. And usually, they play the exact same music as we get in NJ.

Personally, I think some of the best music is coming from Miranda Lambert, Kim Perry and Carrie Underwood, but I wouldn't turn my back on any of them. They have the serious crazy going on. Their concerts have plenty of young female fans dressed up and singing along.

But, maybe the numbers show up differently on radio?

Big Mike said...

As long as they don't stop playing "José Cuervo" by Shelly West, I'm okay with that.

Mark said...

Surprise. Stations that want more female listeners do better if they play male singers. It's almost like gender preferences have been selected for for millions and millions of years by an uncaring universe.

tim in vermont said...

No Mark. God made us each like each gender equally except for a few asshole men. Ask any feminist atheist.

Glenn Howes said...

@Tank as it happens, I put out an iPhone app to locate radio stations (FM Towers USA) and it lists three country FM stations in New Jersey. WKMK in Eatontown, WPUR in Atlantic City, and WNSH in Newark. Now this might be out of date since last I pulled that from Wikipedia but still more than 1.

Bob Ellison said...

That CBS segment lies.

There's a graphic at 1:34 that says "Source: RIAA" and says the top five best-selling country albums of all time are:

1) Garth Brooks, Double Live
2) Shania Twain, Come on Over
3) Shania Twain, The Woman in Me
4) Dixie Chicks, Wide Open Spaces
5) Shania Twain, Up!

The RIAA, though, says the top five best-selling country albums are:

1) Garth Brooks, Double Live
2) Shania Twain, Come on Over
3) Garth Brooks, No Fences
4) Garth Brooks, Ropin' the Wind
5) Shania Twain, The Woman in Me

These are not good choices in music, but whoever at CBS produced that segment could have done the 30 seconds of research I just did to see that the story was dead wrong.

Wilbur said...

There's a couple of YouTube subscription sites where you can hear genuine country music. As far as the radio, you can occasionally pick up a station when driving through the South that plays country music.

If they don't have Porter, Hank, or Kitty Wells on the playlist, it ain't country music. It's something else. Others may enjoy it and I'm fine with that, but it's ersatz country music.

MisterBuddwing said...

And to think there was a time in this country when "tomatoes" was a slang term for women!

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I think an exception should be made for females who sing mostly about getting divorced.

Tank said...

@Glenn

I think there is one station that actually comes in in South Jersey, and one in North Jersey (in a lot of ways Jersey is split in half by being "part of" Philly or NY).

Deirdre Mundy said...

A lot of the more recent country is obnoxious AND inappropriate for a car full of young kids (Lots of lets get drunk and have sex, crummy lyrics, and the tunes are getting more repetitive.) BUT...we have a local 'classic country' station that plays a lot of Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline.....

We have more country than not-country stations around here. We also have a lot of oldies/classic rock. But they play "classics" like U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Blues Traveler and make me feel old.

Skyler said...

The greatest musicians in history have been men.

The greatest artists in history have been men.

The greatest chefs in history have been men.

The greatest leaders in history have been men.

The greatest businessmen in history have been men.

The greatest athletes in history have been men.

The greatest engineers and inventors in history have been men.

I wonder why we keep thinking we're supposed to want women to do everything now?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Skyler, there' an episode of the old The Odd Couple, with guest appearances by Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King, with your name on it.

Maybe it's on YouTube or something.

campy said...

"That CBS segment lies."


Why do you think they're called See B.S. News?

Carol said...

Women's vocal style is really obnoxious now. They're all trying to be Aretha Franklin. I think Reba started that trend. It really wears on you...I notice grocery stores and restaurants like to pipe female screeching over their systems. I don't get why but I guess it works for them.

Big Mike said...

Simpler version of what Mark said upthread: the sort of woman who likes country music also likes men.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

I can't stand modern country music! It's as though they figured out how to tap into the Late 70's-Warner Bros-Eagles-Linda Ronstadt-Fleetwood Mac Continuum.

Tank said...

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

I can't stand modern country music! It's as though they figured out how to tap into the Late 70's-Warner Bros-Eagles-Linda Ronstadt-Fleetwood Mac Continuum.


LOL. This is why I like country music. Although it's mostly because Mrs. Tank likes country music. Happy wife, happy life. A lot of the new stuff is very listenable in an Eagles, Ronstadt, Mac kind of way. A little MORE rocked up actually.

Known Unknown said...

If they don't have Porter, Hank, or Kitty Wells on the playlist, it ain't country music.

Amen.

rhhardin said...

An occasional feminist will say of meetings that a male voice is relief once in a while.

etienne said...

Most radio stations are pre-programmed robots, owned by billionaires, and not designed for profit. They exist to collect political contributions, and feed the dispossessed bottom feeders of society.

CatherineM said...

We have one country station in NYC (it stinks) and I am one of those weirdos who prefers females. Love Carrie, Miranda, Shania, Cassadee Pope, First Aid Kit, lee Ann Womack, Sara Evans, Trisha Yearwood, Jennifer Nettles, Brandi Clark, Pistol Annies. First season of Nashville had good songs thanks to T Bone producing the music.

I Like some old Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, Cash, but most songs sung by men these days are, "put your baaaaahr feet up on my dashboard, in your bikini..." Shit songs that are repetitive about girls at the beach, tailgating and beer. Then most of the good male country artists played are ballads (for the women?) and I hate ballads (any kind of ballad). Problem is with the NYC station, and satellite is no variety. Now everything is divided into separate categories rather than just good music. When I travel is when I hear variety.

PS most music stations in NYC stink too. All crappy dance music, but for one rock station (good, but just classics) and the the oldie station has at least started playing 90s music. Most of the time I listen to podcasts (talk) or my own mix of country, rock and punk music. Radio stinks.

Tank said...

@EMD

You may be one of the exceptions, but I find that most people who say this sort of thing have not spent 10 cents on any country music or concerts in the last ten years.

The music is where the money is (as the post is all about).

Thorley Winston said...

Simpler version of what Mark said upthread: the sort of woman who likes country music also likes men.

Agreed and unlike a lot of pop music where they’re trying to market boy bands that are targeted to young girls, country music tends to be marketed to a much broader age demographic and sustains itself over time. The girls in my high school who swooned over Garth Brooks and Clint Black for being “cute” are still loyal fans when he and they are much older. The ones who listened to NKOTB, not so much.


Howard said...

FIFY Skyputz:

The greatest musicians in history have been WHITE.

The greatest artists in history have been WHITE.

The greatest chefs in history have been WHITE.

The greatest leaders in history have been WHITE.

The greatest businessmen in history have been WHITE.

The greatest athletes in history have been WHITE.

The greatest engineers and inventors in history have been WHITE.

I wonder why we keep thinking we're supposed to want BLACKS to do everything now?

jr565 said...

In regards to the irony. yes exactly. Pop songs are made by guys for women. and some buy those pop songs because they like hearing guys sing about how great women are. There are some big female stars who appeal to men for sexual purposes , or who appeal to women for solidarity purposes. But it's still all about the silly love song, and that's directed at women.
So women are the ones telling radio stations what they want to hear.
As such, it's the guys that get played.
Im sure some feminist somewhere will opine on how women artists aren't adequately represented on country radio. But think about how silly thst would be if the radio station was playing a bunch of songs e audience who apwant to hear love songs, don't want to hear as much.

Gahrie said...

The greatest athletes in history have been WHITE.

Eh...not so much......

jr565 said...

"The greatest athletes in history have been men."
Does Bruce Jenner count? Or should we put him on the best female athletes list with a big asterisk next to his name.

jimbino said...

The greatest religious founders were men.

The greatest religious disciples were men.

The greatest priests and ministers were men.

The greatest criminals were men.

The greatest female impersonators were men.

Scott said...

My favorite radio station is BBC 2. They definitely have a better appreciation of American music than any station in America, bar none.

I listen to it streaming on tunein.com or on my phone's Tunein Radio app.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The greatest splooge stooges were men.

Brando said...

"The greatest athletes in history have been WHITE."

Jim Thorpe wasn't white.

holdfast said...

'Roun here we only plays two kinds of music. Country. And Western.

Brando said...

Radio just isn't what it used to be--I noticed this when Oldies stations started sticking to a more limited playlist (you couldn't go an hour without hearing "Pretty Woman") and they elminated the off-hours shows that featured the rarer tracks (like Sunday nights). I suspect this is the result of market testing, but it means you really have to look elsewhere to find any real variety. Fortunately these days there are many other options besides broadcast radio.

exhelodrvr1 said...

jr565,
Does that corset make his asterisk look big?

Big Mike said...

@CatherineM, I found a station that does country oldies. Lots of Reba and the Judds, but you'll have to put up with "He Stopped Loving Her Today," Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams (Sr. and Jr.), Toby Keith, and Garth Brooks.

Jason said...

"Men have better hair! They tell funnier jokes! And they can dance the pants off women. WOMEN!!"

MadisonMan said...

The greatest musicians in history have been WHITE.

Art Tatum.

(I'm ignoring the conflict between 'greatest' and more than one subject.)

Sigivald said...

If they get higher ratings/more listens/more ad response with more male artists, they should play more male artists.

It's a business, and the artists damned well know it, too. (Especially Nashville "pop country" artists.)

The alternative is radio becoming Canada - enforced content mandates unrelated to what people actually might want to hear.

And that's far, far worse.

Bob Ellison said...

The greatest vocalists in history have been women.

Sarah Vaughn, Leontyne Price, Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox...the list goes on and on.

Skyler said...

Eric the Fruit Bat, you know that Bobby Riggs threw the tennis match, didn't you? It was all a publicity stunt to make money.

An old, washed up male tennis star had to let a young current championship contender win.

Men are generally better at everything and are responsible for creating and discovering almost everything in human history. I'm tired of political correctness trying to teach me otherwise. Yay for women who do things, but let's stop pretending that our existence and survival depend on men to work and create.

Skyler said...

Um, doesn't depend is what my iphone meant to say.

tim in vermont said...

Show me the other WHITE man who looks like Babe Ruth. Just sayin.

tim in vermont said...

I personally can't abide women "Bluegrass" singers. It is just completely inauthentic, but then again, the whole genre has jumped the shark to the point I don't listen to any of it. How it got full of country chord progressions and modes, I do not know.

rhhardin said...

Is it significant that it's called country music, in a Shakespearian pun?

richard mcenroe said...

I much prefer the voices of women country singers to those of women pop singers, by and large. And it was Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead" that got me started re-immersing myself in country & western music during my durance in Los Angeles. I'm looking at the radio and suddenly realize I'm smiling...

Will Cate said...

Some things never change. Many, many, many years ago when I was a top-40 DJ it wasn't just "an unspoken rule" that you didn't play female artists back-to-back. It was widely acknowledged & standard programming policy.

If you're a commercial radio programmer, your job is to attract the most desirable demographic of listeners, and that's women. And if most women prefer to hear male artists on the radio, by golly that's what you play.

Jason said...

You don't like women bluegrass singers? I saw Rhonda Vincent and her band tear the cover off the ball some years back. With Hunter Berry on fiddle.

I think Dolly Parton's "The Grass is Blue" is one of the greatest recordings of the genre. Her "Silver Dagger" is as good as anybody on anything, ever.

Then there's Alison Krauss, but I don't think you can lump her stuff over the last 20 years in with traditional bluegrass. Depends how far you want to stretch the genre and if you want to include roots music, old-time or progressive bluegrass.


Jason said...

Why would a woman bluegrass singer be "inauthentic?" Because Bill Monroe happened to be a man? I don't get it.

CatherineM said...

Jason - ditto in Grass is Blue. That was in heavy rotation in my car for a long time.

CatherineM said...

Big Mike. Sounds good to me!

Kirk Parker said...

CatherineM,

First Aid Kit is country???

"most [country] songs sung by men these days"

Try Jason Isbell.

tim in vermont said...

It's something, but to me it's not Bluegrass, 90% of the time.

Clearly I am in the minority here. Sirius pushes the crap that passes for Bluegrass these days, I have long since stopped listening. It all sounds country now. They used to be distinct. If I wanted to listen to country, I would listen to country. Women Bluegrass singers tend to use the genre the same as they use almost every other genre, to whine about specific problems that seem specific to the singer's life. Traditional Bluegrass always seemed more universal to me.

JoyD said...

I have trouble listening to the high-pitched note-sustaining show-off blasts from female singers, not just country but Mariah Carey ish and even Barbra Streisand - there, I said it, blasphemy, right? I'm not denying their talent, I'm just saying it grates on me.
I once left a half-full cart at the grocery store and just walked out. I just couldn't take another song. if you're going to say it was PMS, maybe it was...the reason I allowed myself to act out my "flight" wish.
I called the manager to apologize for the cart and he laughed that be hated the music too and had no choice of playlist.

mikee said...

Oddly enough, when a business improves its product or service to meet the preferences of the majority of the customers, total business can increase.

And when a business improves products or services to those with preferences in a minority among its customers, its business can also increase.

And when a business offers a brand new product or service to meet customer needs, business can increase.

Doing those things above are sometimes not possible at the same time. Businesses get to choose, based on their understanding of the market they serve, how to increase their business.