In country radio, women are bad for business, exec says

Country radio consultant Keith Hill is telling radio programmers at country radio stations that if they want to get better ratings, they need to get female singers off the air.

Hill says his radio stations are trying to reach the biggest audience, not create gender equity.

Hill made his comments in an interview with Country Aircheck Weekly, which should wipe women off the playlists of many country stations, considering that commercial radio programmers mostly take their cues from other commercial radio programmers.

This One’s Not For The Girls: Finally, Hill cautions against playing too many females. And playing them back to back, he says, is a no-no.

“If you want to make ratings in Country radio, take females out,” he asserts. “The reason is mainstream Country radio generates more quarter hours from female listeners at the rate of 70 to 75%, 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%. 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.”

No females on radio? Blame the females in the audience, he says.

“We’re trying to get the biggest possible audience,” Hill tells CBS News. “We’re not thinking about gender fairness, we’re just trying to make money.”

“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,” Hill said.

Hill said in a country song, men are the lettuce, women are the tomatoes, a comment that earned the controversy the dreaded “gate” appendage — #saladgate.

As you might imagine, this isn’t going over big with female country artists.

Defenders of Hill will say the numbers don’t lie. But it’s difficult for female artists to get a hit record if the radio programmers aren’t playing it.

Hill says his comments were made at an industry seminar and were not meant for public consumption.

This would make a great country song.