CMT Unveils Research Proving Fans Want to Hear More Women on Country Radio

The new study reveals 84 percent of listeners want equal play for female artists

Jennifer Nettles attends the 53nd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 13, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
Jennifer Nettles attends the 53nd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 13, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / February 18, 2020 12:07 pm

Last month, CMT made waves in the country music industry by committing to gender parity, promising 50 percent of its video airplay would go to female artists. Now, the network has revealed new research proving that their decision is a reflection of what fans want — and noting that the majority of country music fans want to hear more women on the radio.

The network partnered with Coleman Insights on the study, which found that 84 percent of listeners want equal play for women on the radio and 28 percent said they would listen to radio more frequently if more female artists were featured. (11 percent said they would listen to radio less if that were the case.) Seventy percent of listeners polled also said they would like to see more female artists in country music in general.

“The age-old myth that ‘women don’t want to hear women’ has led to a multitude of unproven public claims about female voices on the air, including ‘you can’t play two women back-to-back’ or ‘ratings drop when you play women,’” Leslie Fram, senior vice president of music and talent at CMT, said in a statement. “When we approached Coleman Insights about this specific line of research, we were shocked to learn no one had ever commissioned data on the listeners themselves. CMT took it directly to the fans, and what we found couldn’t have been more clear: listeners want equal play and women do want to hear women on the radio.”

“This tells us country music fans want to hear good songs, period,” she added. “But it also tells us that we are training listeners not to hear female voices. Without creating an equal playing field, fans don’t know what they are missing. This is about a balance of gender and diversity. It’s essential for all voices to be heard.”

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