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Country Radioman Backtracks on ‘Cut Female singers’ Advice


Consultant clarifies ‘tomato’ remark amid backlash, death threats

The radio consultant who sparked a controversy on (Nashville’s) Music Row this week with his advice that radio stations not play female songs back to back is clarifying his remarks, which have resulted in death threats and name-calling via social media.

Earlier this week, the industry publication Country Aircheck ran an interview with radio consultant Keith Hill, who said, “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.

“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.”

On Thursday, he said in an interview with The Tennessean, “I am a marketer. I am not a social engineer.”

“What has happened is that this social media thing is driven by emotion, not logic, and I understand that. I am for equality of all things. I am not trying to solve racial issues, geopolitical issues or certainly not the issues between genders.

“Yet the first tweet I received about this was ‘douchebag.’ I have now received death threats by email, all because I said this is how you get higher ratings on country radio.

“Apparently I am a black-and-white ’60s politically incorrect guy by using the tomatoes analogy for females. I am not sure if it would have been better to use carrots or onions.

“Right now, I am the victim of all this passion. I realize it is probably driven by a mix of a lot of things. You start reading tweets: ‘I want to hear more females.’ When I see a tweet, I know it doesn’t represent the mass country audience. Furthermore, then they start attacking bro-country and Florida Georgia Line and how long songs are No. 1 and how they stay the same.”



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