Are Female Artist Really “Tomatoes” on the Radio?


By Felix Casado –

Nashville’s female artists are in an uproar after Keith Hill of South Padre Island, Texas said, “Radio should not play too many songs by women”. According to him the majority of country music listeners are females, and female artist are killing the radio because females don’t want to listen to their whining about their latest break up, heart break or man hating songs.

Is Country radio really discriminating against female artist’s since only 20% of the top 50 songs are by a solo female artist or group? Keith Hill has a lot of explaining to do, and maybe a long list of “I’m Sorry’s” to pass around to all the women in country music he just offended. And it shouldn’t fall on deaf ears.

Female country artist’s are a solid foundation to what Country Music is today. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have the some of the best Country songs in history. They worked twice has hard to get to the top and endure being constantly overlooked since country music is “male dominated”. But, the amazing women who have come out on top, or on the rise, deserve the same respect or more then their male counterparts.

But, does Keith Hill have a solid point when it comes to increasing radio ratings, by changing the programing and increasing the male-to-female ratio in radio plays? According to his work history, he has saved multiple radio stations from failure just by coming in and doing what he does best… eliminating the “tomatoes” and adding more “lettuce” to the air waves as he calls it. Has it worked? Yes… but has it affected the growth of female artists?  YUP!

Keith Hill’s response to being called out was, “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,” he said. But “tossing the salad” in music is necessary because a station doesn’t want to bunch up ballads, Americana or even male artists on its playlist”.

nettlestweetBut some female artist have come out on Twitter blasting back. Lets take Jennifer Nettles from the band Sugarland who came out saying – “Don’t worry babe. I see an opportunity here. A big ole vagina shaped opportunity!”

But, that’s the reality of the industry. We currently had a talent showcase at the Round Up Nightclub in Davie, FL. where I work.  8 out of 9 of these talented performers were female artists. Maybe the ratio will even out in the future, with all the new uprising female artists picking up guitars and taking some pages out of the “ Bro Country Book” with new fresh lyrics and attitudes and write about other things then heart break and man hating. I think hitting my truck with a bat isn’t going to take your crazy self back… just saying.

So come on my “tomatoes” and fight back with some new music and lyrics! Let’s change the game! And, maybe at the end of the day Keith Hill will Eat his “Tomatos” and enjoy it! However, in the same breath, Keith Hill’s programming is indeed more successful and generates more revenue then any other past formula. So then exactly what are we saying?


About Felix Casado

Music is what Felix lives for. He loves to DJ, produce and review music. Felix has also served as a reporter for Clear Channel Communications, working in various venues such as Sirius/XM Radio.