Dear Gossips,

Jennifer Nettles made a statement last night with her outfit on the red carpet at the CMA Awards. 

“Equal Play”

“Play Our F-cking Records”

“Please & Thank You”

This is about country radio and the long ongoing conversation about the fact that it’s dominated by men because the gatekeepers of country are men. Did you know that on country radio, female artists are rarely, if ever, played back to back? Meaning you could go days, if not weeks, without hearing a Miranda Lambert song that’s followed by a Carrie Underwood song, or a Maren Morris song that’s followed by a Reba McEntire song. 

It’s been four years since “Tomato-gate”, when radio consultant Keith Hill cautioned radio programmers against putting too many women on their playlists and advised them never to play women back-to-back because “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.” Last year, Keith Hill doubled down on those statements and you can read more about that in this piece by Courtney E Smith at Refinery29 which also addresses the misogyny and harassment in country radio. What’s most perplexing is that the big argument that country radio uses to support its heavily male artist rotation is that women make up much of the audience of country radio and they wouldn’t keep listening to country radio if they heard more women on the radio. I find this… really confusing.

So, with that in mind, the theme of the CMA Awards last night was “celebrating legendary women in country music” with Carrie Underwood and special guest hosts Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire leading the party. In the end, Garth Brooks was named Entertainer of the Year for the third time in four years. So basically more of the same, with a few highlights here and there. 

And, of course, we haven’t even gotten to how “Old Town Road”, the undisputed song of 2019, challenged country music this year. 

The women of country music, however, are becoming more vocal. Trisha Yearwood has called for change, as has Miranda Lambert, and Kacey Musgraves, and so many more. And it would seem that they’re getting louder – as evidenced by Jennifer Nettles’ outfit. How much longer is this going to take? 

Yours in gossip,