Monday, December 9, 2019

New Study: Women Short-Changed On Country Radio

Another new study documents that not only are women getting fewer spins on country radio stations, but trend is getting worse.

Jada Watsonan, an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa, released the latest study on Friday, via SongData (in consultation with WOMAN Nashville).  The study focuses on the spins across the day on country radio stations.

The findings document further the ongoing narrative about the lack of diversity.

The latest study follow-ups to SongData’s April 2019 study on radio airplay.  It reports that the ratio of spins by males to female artists in 2018 was 9.7:1 with spins for women averaging 4% at its best and 1.7% at its worst during overnight (12:00 – 6:00 a.m.) and the morning (6:00 – 10:00 a.m.), respectively.

“For the first time, this study analyzes spin data on the weekly reports, looking at how men, women and male-female artists are represented by total spins and according to the five dayparts,” Watson says. “While the overall results of the study may not be surprising to our community, the spin data and results on weekly movement provide a clearer perspective of the gravity of the imbalance on terrestrial radio and further underscore the inequality in country music culture.”

Among the latest findings:
  • Songs by male artists are programmed more than those by women in every year of this period by approximately 76.0% in 2002 and 90.0% by 2018
  • This disparity in spins holds true for the AMD, MID and PMD dayparts, but closes slightly in the EVE and OVN
  • Songs by women receive the same percentage of spins overall (13.5%) as men do in the PMD daypart across this 17-year period
  • The ratio of spins by songs for men and women likewise increases from about 3-4 spins to 1 in 2002 to 11 to 1 in the AMD, MID and PMD, and 8 or 9 to 1 in the EVE and OVN
  • Male-female ensembles are so significantly underrepresented throughout out this entire period and across every daypart that their total spins (5.2%) are less than half those granted to songs by men in the AMD
Overall, these results point to the preference for songs by male artists on country format radio, and a prevalence for programming women and male-female ensembles (combined) at 13-15% of the daily spins. All women – whether solo in a group or in a male-female ensembles – are so overwhelmingly underrepresented in this culture that by 2018 it is possible for someone listening to the radio to tune-in for over an hour (possibly even two hours) and not hear a single song by a women depending on the time of day. And while there is slight improvement in spins for songs by women the evening and overnight dayparts, these are times of day with the smallest listening audience and fewer opportunities for new and established artists to expand their reach with listeners.

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