Every Monday night at 8pm, there’s a feature on my show called “The All-Girl Power Hour.” It’s pretty self-explanatory: we dedicate that hour to playing songs from female artists, or bands with female lead singers. I can’t take credit for the idea, as much as I’d like to; I owe that to the daughter of a friend of our former Event Coordinator, who suggested, “You guys should do a whole hour of songs by girls!” And we thought, “That’s brilliant!” (Personally, I think this kid has a promising future as a radio program director!)
We started this hour several years ago, even before “Saladgate” brought the lack of female artists on country radio to the forefront of conversation, and a group of passionately devoted fans of female artists became ardent supporters of this feature, getting on Twitter every week to live-Tweet about the show while it’s happening, and to encourage other fans of female artists to listen and participate. It’s been incredibly moving to see this kind of dedication to making a difference.
I’ve never seen the #AllGirlPowerHour hashtag used in reference to anything other than this feature, so I took it personally when I saw a tweet (which has since been deleted) that read, “The #AllGirlPowerHour trend is cool, but it’s not enough.”
Despite inviting her to join us in listening and live-tweeting during the show, this person could not be convinced, and so, I thought it necessary to explain what we hope to accomplish with the All-Girl Power Hour, because she’s right: it’s not enough.
The point that she missed was that it was never meant to be enough. The All-Girl Power Hour was never meant to be a replacement for the lack of females on country radio during the other 167 hours during the week. It’s more forward-looking than that.
Much like the-chicken-and-the-egg (which came first?) speculation, I’ve put a lot of thought into why females don’t get the same airplay that males do. Radio’s job is to play the hits, regardless of male or female. How do we get more female artists on the radio, then? Is it up to the labels to sign and promote as many female artists as they do male artists? But why should they make the investment if they think country radio won’t play females anyway? This is self-fulfilling prophesy Martina McBride is concerned about.
So this is the thing that rolls around in my head, constantly: Who is in the best position to make this change? Is the labels, or radio programmers? Labels or programmers? Labels or programmers?!?!
And then I realized the sobering answer:
It’s my responsibility.
Believe it or not, as a “DJ,” I don’t have anywhere near as much influence as fans of the radio station do. So the way I see it – it’s up to me to convince our audience what a hit song is. I don’t exactly know how to do that (if I did, I’d be making WAY more money than I am!), but I do feel like I’m in a position of influence. If I want more females played on the radio (which I do), every time I play a female artist – I have to say something to make that song connect with our audience, to champion the artist, to make people want to hear it more often.
And that’s what we hope to do with the All-Girl Power Hour: Play brand new music from female artists (some songs which we’ve added to regular rotation, some which we haven’t…yet), sandwiched between classics from other superstar ladies, and hopefully give these up-and-comers a leg-up which they wouldn’t otherwise have, and to eventually turn these songs into smash hits which we can play throughout the day.
My ultimate goal? To not need an All-Girl Power Hour at all.
Until then, thank you for listening.