Miranda Lambert and several of her fellow female country music artists are fuming at an industry expert for encouraging radio stations to play fewer songs by women.
Keith Hill is a radio consultant who, according to the Washington Post, claims to be “the world’s leading authority on music scheduling.” In a recent interview with Country Aircheck, Hill gave some programing advice that sparked outrage among country’s leading ladies. He said fewer females on country radio equates to higher ratings. His reasoning is that listeners are mostly women who want to hear male artists.
“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 percent, and women like male artists. I’m basing that not only on music tests from over the years, but more than 300 client radio stations. The expectation is we’re principally a male format with a smaller female component. I’ve got about 40 music databases in front of me and the percentage of females in the one with the most is 19 percent. 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 our salad are the females.”
Blake Shelton may be the lettuce, but his wife, Miranda Lambert, is not standing for being called a tomato in the country music salad. Lambert is known to be a big supporter of women in the country music community, who were already facing challenging times prior to Hill’s thoughtless comments. Miranda took to Twitter to slam Hill’s advice, and vowed to stand by the women of country.
I am gonna do everything in my power to support and promote female singer/songwriters in country music. Always.
— Miranda Lambert (@mirandalambert) May 28, 2015
“This is the biggest bunch of BULL**** I have ever heard. I am gonna do everything in my power to support and promote female singer/songwriters in country music. Always.”
Martina McBride and Jennifer Nettles also shared their reactions on social media. As Inquisitr reported, McBride posted a lengthy comment on her Facebook page, asking if her female fans felt they were accurately represented in Hill’s stats. Nettles tweeted that she sees a silver lining in the situation.
— Jennifer Nettles (@JenniferNettles) May 27, 2015
Hill doesn’t see his recommendations as controversial at all. He claims to be a fan of Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, and Martina McBride, but maintains his job is to get ratings. That means advising stations to keep female songs at no more than 15 percent. “I’m not a social engineer. I’m not trying to get parity. Never was my goal,” he says.
“I’m the expert here. I’m the one who spent years programming radio, I’m the one who spent years studying music scheduling. And I’m also the one that has programmed radio stations. I know what works. Now, that may come off as arrogant. I share this information, and just because it doesn’t fall into the natural break of the gender that populates our country or the globe, seems like that’s an issue. To me, it’s not a gender issue at all. It’s a marketing issue.”
The programming expert offers some advice for female country singers if they want to be played on the radio — to “produce better records.” He goes on to say, if they looked for “hot, salted butter popcorn sonics for your ears; better crafted lyrics,” with mainstream production, radio stations would be playing them. Hill, who says he was “misunderstood,” insists the numbers don’t lie, and he’s just presenting the facts. As far as all the fuss over his insulting comments — he says, “There are a lot of uptight women” out there.
Do you think Miranda Lambert and other female country greats were just being “uptight” over #saladgate?
[Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]