Kacey Musgraves and Kelsea Ballerini are both taking a country radio station to task after its sexist airplay policy came to light.
Yesterday, the Twitter account of Michigan's 98 KCQ station decided to advertise a bizarre and downright disgusting rule which apparently bars DJs from playing female artists back-to-back.
"We cannot play two females back to back. Not even Lady Antebellum or Little Big Town against another female," the station wrote in response to Variety's Chris Willman, who asked if an LA country station could be fined for playing female artists back-to-back. "I applaud their courage."
Naturally, Musgraves and Ballerini both had some thoughts on this so-called "policy."
"Smells like white male bullshit and why LONG ago I decided they cannot stop me," Musgraves wrote above her retweet, before adding, "And yet, they can play 18 dudes who sound exactly the same back to back. Makes total sense."
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
Meanwhile, Ballerini — who was also mentioned in Willman's initial tweet — started by addressing "all the ladies that bust their asses to have half the opportunities that men do" via her Twitter.
"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," she wrote. "It's unfair and it's incredibly disappointing."
And while the radio station's tweet was eventually deleted, that didn't stop Ballerini from posting a screenshot of it to her Instagram, alongside a lengthy caption about how "there is still inequality in airplay for women" on country radio.
"Tweets like this prove it. And it's my job to say it out loud and post about it, because of the girls moving to Nashville (or wherever) that are ready to outrun and outwork and outplay everyone. They deserve to know that they have the same shot as the guys moving here to do the same," Ballerini continued, before asking the industry to take a more proactive stance. "Country music- We have to fix this. For us and for them. How do we do it? Let's talk. "
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I say this having been one of the few women who have been really embraced by country radio and having watched some of the bigger networks (and some of my friends that are pd’s and high up) make real changes in their programming to make it look more balanced. I am grateful. BUT. there is still inequality in airplay for women. And tweets like this prove it. And it’s my job to say it out loud and post about it, because of the girls moving to Nashville ( or wherever) that are ready to outrun and outwork and outplay everyone. They deserve to know that they have the same shot as the guys moving here to do the same. Country music- We have to fix this. For us and for them. How do we do it? Let’s talk. (Also- don’t lash out at this station, they are playing by rules set for them from their higher ups 😞)
That said, in the wake of the backlash, the 98 KCQ account ended up responding to Ballerini's tweet. Though it's unclear who is in charge of the account and whether it's a different person tweeting, their latest post read, "The conversation continues, Kelsea."
"I am not alone in this. And neither is the music industry. (Oscars)," the account said. "Women deserve their share of the airwaves." See the conversation, below.
The conversation continues, Kelsea. I am not alone in this. And neither is the music industry. (Oscars). Women deserve their share of the airwaves.— 98 KCQ (@98fmKCQ) January 16, 2020
Photo via Getty