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Oklahoma Radio Station Plays Beyonce’s New Country Songs After Backlash From Fans

Oklahoma Radio Station Plays Beyonce’s New Country Songs After Backlash From Fans
Beyonce James Devaney/GC Images

An Oklahoma radio station learned not to get on the Beyhive’s bad side after initially declining to play Beyoncé’s new country songs, “Texas Hold ’Em” and “16 Carriages.”

On Tuesday, February 13, one local fan shared a screenshot of an email from KYKC 100.1 in response to his request to hear the singles. “Hi — we do not play Beyoncé on KYKC as we are a country music station,” read the station’s response, which the fan shared via X.

The listener believed KYKC’s response was the result of “blatant racism,” but the radio station later claimed that wasn’t the case (and confirmed that the original email was real). “We initially refused to play it in the same manner if someone requested us to play the Rolling Stones on our country station,” general manager Roger Harris said in a statement. “Fact is we play Beyoncé on TWO of our other stations and love her … she is an icon. We just didn’t know about the song … then when we found out about it, we tried to get the song … which we did and we have already played it 3 times on YKC, our country station. We also play her on 105.5, KXFC-FM and KADA-FM 0n 99.3.”

Harris went on to say that KYKC is “not a ‘big boy’ station” and thus doesn’t always get new singles right away. “But … finally we got our hands on it, and based on the fan support, we decided to air it,” he continued. “Truthfully, normally we would (usually) wait a while to see how the song performs on the charts and on bigger country stations than ours, as we are just the little guys.”

Oklahoma Radio Station Plays Beyonce’s New Country Songs After Backlash From Fans
Beyonce Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

He noted that the station wants to be “all over” Beyoncé’s upcoming country album, Renaissance Act II, which drops next month. “We are not fools,” Harris added. “We know how big she is and we are happy to air it and wish her the best success.”

While KYKC was quick to add Beyoncé to its playlist, the Beyhive will certainly be watching as Act II rolls out. Country radio has long been notorious for playing very female artists — and even fewer Black artists. A 2023 study found that country stations play female artists back-to-back an average 0.5 percent of the time, with the majority of those plays occurring between midnight and 6 a.m.

Everything to Know About Beyonce Act II

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The same study found that songs by women of color and LGBTQIA+ artists earned less than 1 percent of airplay in 2022, and just six solo Black women and one group of Black women have ranked on country radio charts since 1958.

“The bar for entry is high for new women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists,” study coauthor Dr. Jada Watson told Billboard. “And then we’re left with this practice in which radio supports one woman at a time — and that duration for which white women are supported is becoming shorter. … This is a culture that limits space for white women and then tosses out their music once it’s peaked on the charts. They don’t even open the door to BIPOC women and LGBTQ+ artists.”

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