Taking a stand. Kacey Musgraves and Kelsea Ballerini used their public platforms to call attention to a policy some country radio stations have that prevents them from playing female artists back-to-back.
The outrage began on Tuesday, January 14, when a person tweeted that they had heard songs by female artists playing twice in a row on a local radio station. “I turned on the 105.1 country station in L.A. just now, and they were playing the new song by Gabby Barrett, and then, without any pause or interruption at all, they went into a Kelsea Ballerini song,” the user wrote. “Can’t they get fined for that?”
Radio station 98 KCQ replied to the tweet and admitted that, “We cannot play two females back to back. Not even Lady Antebellum or Little Big Town against another female. I applaud their courage.”
Musgraves, 31, clapped back at the sexist rule via Twitter on Thursday, January 16. “Smells like white male bulls–t and why LONG ago I decided they cannot stop me,” the “Rainbow” singer replied to 98 KCQ. “And yet, they can play 18 dudes who sound exactly the same back to back. Makes total sense.”
Ballerini, 26, gave her two cents via Instagram on Thursday by posting a screenshot of the radio station’s tweet. “To all the ladies that bust their asses to have half the opportunities that men do, 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 captioned the post. “It’s unfair and it’s incredibly disappointing.”
Some fans took to Twitter to defend female country artists and sounded off on the rule.
“They have time to play two men named Luke back to back but god forbid someone named Kelsea or Kacey are played back to back… or even at all…” one person wrote. Another user commented, “They REEK. saying they ‘cannot play two females back to back’ is a real funny way of saying ‘hey we straight up hate women.”
Musgraves and Ballerini aren’t the only female country singers to take a stand against having limited airplay compared to their male counterparts. Jennifer Nettles wore a dress emblazoned with the words, “Play our f*@#in records, please and thank you, ” to the Country Music Awards in November 2019.
“When I found out that the CMA’s were celebrating women artists this year, I saw a wonderful opportunity to invite and inspire conversation about country music’s need to play more women artists on radio and playlistings,” the “Stuck Like Glue” singer, 45, captioned a photo of her bold outfit on Instagram that month.
Musgraves, meanwhile, enjoyed a wild night out following the CMAS. One day after the awards show, the Grammy winner tweeted, “can you die from a hangover? asking for a friend who is actually me.” She later revealed on The Late Late Show With James Corden in December 2019 that she had spent the evening partying with the unlikely crew of Willie Nelson, Reese Witherspoon and Gigi Hadid.