Bobby Bones pinned the blame for a vengeful radio tactic on a specific person during the June 19 broadcast of iHeartMedia’s The Bobby Bones Show and threatened to expose as many as a dozen other executives who have reportedly admitted to blackballing Stoney Creek artist Lindsay Ell over her personal relationship with Bones.
Ell was scheduled to make a local appearance for KNCI Sacramento, Calif., on June 16, but the station asked her to not attend, in essence forcing her to apologize to her fans. Left to explain it to her audience, she tweeted that it was “bc of my personal life.” Several newspapers printed incendiary stories, even after KNCI issued an apology, calling it a “bad decision” and asking Ell and her team to “allow us to reschedule that show.”
iHeart’s KBEB Sacramento pounced on the controversy, amping up promotion of Ell. KNCI has not played her new single, “Waiting on You”; KBEB has played it 35 times, with 20 of those spins coming in the last week.
Bones warned Ell when they started dating in June 2016 that rival stations might use the relationship as an excuse not to play her singles. During a 10-minute segment on his June 19 show, he berated “Chad” — presumably CBS/Sacramento vp programming Chad Rufer — for the decision. Bones also indicated that he and Ell had been told by 13 terrestrial and nonterrestrial programmers that they would not play her music because of the relationship. Bones claims to have audio recordings and/or notes of those conversations and threatened to divulge more names.
Ell’s “Waiting on You” places a female voice in the same sonic territory as Keith Urban‘s “Blue Ain’t Your Color” and Thomas Rhett‘s “Die a Happy Man,” which would seem to make it a good fit on current country radio. Thus far, it has not charted.
Bones and his co-host, Amy Brown, said that no station would have canceled a male artist in the same situation, echoing some Music Row sentiment that the move is further proof of “Tomatogate” discrimination against females at radio.
Ell’s manager and CBS declined to comment, though a CBS representative indicated that the cancellation at KNCI had been made by a team and not by an individual.