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Country Radio Seminar’s 50th Anniversary Comes with Controversy

Only one of 13 candidates up for the New Faces of Country Music showcase is female.

Country Radio Seminar will celebrate their 50th anniversary from February 13th-15th in Nashville, Tenn., a three-day event consisting of educational programming, panels of key business leaders, presentations on new technology, business practices, personal career development topics, and new music showcases.

Every year, Country Radio Seminar hosts the New Faces of Country Music showcase in which country music fans across the U.S. fill out ballots to vote for the top five new country artists. Five elected artists then perform in front of a panel of radio personas and an audience of fans.

This year’s showcase has come under fire for having only one female on the ballot.

Thirteen artists total are on the ballot. Some of the contenders include new male artists such as: LANCO, Walker Hayes, and Russell Dickerson. The lone female is Lindsay Ell, best known for “Criminal” off of her debut record, The Project.

In May, Ell College Media Network Country Radio Seminar's 50th Anniversary Comes with Controversyreleased her version of John Mayer’s album Continuum, titled, The Continuum Project.  She kicked off her first-ever headlining experience —Monster Energy Outbreak Tour — in October.

This isn’t the first time country radio has been criticized for favoring male musicians.

Bobby Bones, host of the national Bobby Bones Show, started a weekend program that exclusively features female country music artists.

“I’ll be really obnoxious about it and just cram it down the radio station,” Bones told the Nashville Tennessean. “They’re just not giving females a chance. I’m going to take a square peg and shove it into a round hole until it’s also round. It’s important for fairness. I want everybody to have an equal shot.”

Ell said, “At the end of the day, I’m very proud that I get to represent the women in this lineup,” according to Taste of Country. “Do we need more women in our format? Yes we do, so I feel like next year, it’s hopefully going to be taking another step in the right direction.”

Both Miranda Lambert and Sara Evans have shared their negative experiences with country radio.

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