CMT Pledges Equal Airplay For Female Artists

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Gender imbalance has been a frequent conversation topic in country music circles, and CMT continues to lead the charge for female artists. On Tuesday morning (Jan. 21), the television network revealed that it will institute 50/50 video airplay for female artists on both CMT and CMT Music channels.

In a message sent out on social media, CMT revealed its pledge to be effective immediately. "Music channels will have complete parity between male and female artists. That means 50/50. #CMTEqualPlay," the company shared on Twitter.

"Time is really up in 2020! All the talk around what can be done to support females in country music needs to transform into action, once and for all," shared Leslie Fram, SVP of Music & Talent, CMT. "At CMT, we are stepping up our own commitments, in addition to our work through the CMT Next Women of Country franchise, and will be announcing a new initiative in the coming weeks that will spark this much-needed change in our industry."

CMT’s decision comes just weeks after a new study showed a staggering imbalance of gender representation at country radio. The study, titled Gender Representation on Country Format Radio, 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 in the overnight hours (12:00 – 6:00 a.m.) and 1.7% at its worst in the morning (6:00 – 10:00 a.m.) when listenership spikes.

Research shows that women receive drastically less spins than men throughout the 24-hour cycle. "When the bulk of radio’s listening audience is tuning in, not only do they hear fewer songs (in general), but they also hear few women (specifically),” adjunct professor Jada Watson from the University of Ottawa writes in the study. “It would be entirely possible that a station’s listeners could commute to or from work and not hear a single song by a women."