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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.

Brianna Vacca

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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 released 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.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Brianna is a sophomore at the University of the Arts studying Music Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology and Creative Writing as a minor. She is a Grammy U Campus Ambassador at the Recording Academy, VIP Ambassador at CID Entertainment and a Promotions Assistant at Townsquare Media. She has a passion for the Music Industry, Entertainment, Radio, Writing, and being an active Singer|Songwriter.

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