Yet perusing the Hot Country Songs chart in any given week, it's obvious women are in the minority. Underwood, Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert consistently fare well, but for most female artists, country radio is an uphill battle. Country programmers "are reacting to their research," Overton says. "I don't know why listeners don't want to hear as many females. All you can do is find compelling music, which, obviously, Carrie has delivered."
Clay Hunnicutt, senior VP of programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, considers Underwood's believability as key to her winning streak.
"She knows exactly who she is, what she's about, what her fans want and expect, and then she delivers it like very few can," he says. "She is a clear and present woman of substance. If you think about some of the greatest women in country music, past and present -- Loretta [Lynn], Martina [McBride], Reba [McEntire], Taylor [Swift], Miranda [Lambert] and Carrie -- they are all women of substance. It's not a story that has been created to fabricate a career. Carrie is not fake . . . She's married, lives her life like she says she does, is serious when she needs to be, and then shows her sense of humor and style when the times call for it."
Hunnicutt is a big fan of Underwood's new single. "I really love it, great energy," he says. "It shows off Carrie's voice in multiple places, while also having a good ebb and flow in the song that treats you like you're on a roller coaster. It comes out of the gate fast with a jolt, then slows a little to climb back up, then back down the other side at 100 mph."
KRTY San Jose, Calif., GM Nate Deaton notes Underwood's overall commitment to country and her willingness to embrace the format. "Carrie has kind of grown up with us. Go back and compare [first single] 'Inside Your Heaven' to 'Good Girl,'" he says. "She has always been, first and foremost, a country artist."
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