Friday, August 22, 2014

A&O&B Poll: We're Open To More Country From Taylor

Taylor Swift may have left country a “goodbye note” but the majority of the more than 60 Country PDs, MDs, Talent and Station Executives who took part in Albright & O'Malley & Brenner's quick, and admittedly unscientific straw poll this week said they’ve left the light on for her.  

By more than 4:1 the panel hoped that Taylor Swift would cut another country song in the future with 30% feeling country radio would miss Taylor. 17% said they didn’t think they would play any new Taylor Swift songs now that she’s “gone pop.”

Regarding “Shake It Off,” the first single from Taylor's new pop project, 89% of our panel had heard the song /watched the video. When asked to think about it not as a country song but as a piece of music, 60% said they liked it “A Lot” while 27% liked it “Some.”

72% said their station had talked about “Shake it Off” on the air with 41% saying their station played all or some of it.

We also invited comments. Among the most common were 1) she’s been a cross-over artist for some time, 2) that her music wasn’t any more or less country than what’s being played on country radio now, and 3) an expectation that she will record something country in the future.

There were several “ambivalent” opinions on Taylor’s past or future impact on country and country radio listeners, but no one in the poll expressed anything negative.

Not that I expected to see that from our stations, but I’ve moderated enough listener panels where respondents were quick to dis on Taylor.

So I loved this from Facebook post from Cumulus/Dallas OM J. R. Schumann/@JRSchumann1

"Every time Taylor Swift puts out a new song/album it's amazing to me the hate speak she receives. Grown men and women say terrible things about a girl making music - music with a positive message, mind you. Music that tells kids in their most formative years to be themselves and not let the world get to them. Year after year...Taylor Swift (who has never been pictured drunk, partying, doing drugs, arrested, or anything) remains the subject of so much hate, and we wonder why the world is the way it is. 

Let's just hope the kids of today listen to her lyrics and not what the adults around them are saying."

Apparently he's struck a chord. J.R. says this has been favored over 1500 times and has 1400 re-tweets.

Much success, Taylor.

If you decide in the future to cut something country, there will be people in the format who will want to hear it.


Chris said...

Great and during the years we're waiting for Taylor to possibly record another country song, why not play more great country solo females who are unquestionably, highly dedicated to country music and radio, starting with Kellie Pickler to top 10 again? Many times she has said she cares about and wants to be played ONLY on country radio and it's her home. And clearly her music is among the best and belongs at #1 on country radio, it's modern country/pop/rock and fits right in with what radio plays. Kellie's albums are full of many radio-friendly songs, certainly more than all artists radio isn't playing to top 10 and many played to #1. So what's the problem? Why move any popular, proven, critically acclaimed artist and music from #8-14 (5 singles) on Mediabase to completely off the chart instead of in the other direction to #1 like you do for ALL equally talented men? Stop severely limiting country solo female airplay, play more to #1 and don't wait 8 years until 1 of just 3 solo females you regularly play leaves.

Six years ago Taylor recognized Kellie's huge talent and great music, asked her to tour with her for 2 years on her first huge tour (Fearless), and said she hopes country radio plays Kellie to #1 too. It's where she clearly belongs, mainly because her albums and songs are at least as great and radio-friendly as others radio played to #1. So what did radio do? The opposite. After six top 8-19 hits, most of which deserved top 5-#1, they stopped playing Kellie just before she released 2 of the best, most critically acclaimed country albums 2 years in a row (100 Proof in 2012 and The Woman I Am in 2013). Her first single radio didn't play to top 20 (Makin' Me Fall In Love Again) hit #6 on Callout America when it was just #30 on radio, very impressive, but radio stopped playing it at #30 instead of top 5 where it deserved to go. This was during the same time radio moved Miranda to #1. Coincidence? Obviously not since country radio always keeps just 3 solo females at the top, so clearly there's a fixed limit for them with virtually unlimited room for solo males. Clearly Carrie, Taylor, Miranda and Kellie all deserved to be moved to #1 years ago but God forbid country radio keeps more than 3 great solo females at the top in 10 years. Imagine the horror. I want to hear a lot more than just 1 female to every 15 male songs. At this point I'd be happy if radio just played Kellie's new singles to #15 again because then at least we'd hear her new songs once a day, but again she really belongs at #1, not #20, 30, 40, 50, or 60+.

Carrie and many others are calling for country radio to play more women

Chris said...


Like those smart leaders, radio leaders should think progress and play more women to #1 like they do for ALL talented men and too few equally and more talented women! And starting with Kellie because she earned it years ago and is the only artist with multiple top 8-14 hits plus the only very talented artist in her class of 2006-2007 (or ever?) that radio still hasn't played to #1. I can't think of or find any artist in the history of country music or radio who has many top 8-14 hits and radio never played any of their singles to #1. Can you? Maybe some women before the 1960s (Kitty Wells)? And it's only because radio refuses to regularly play more than a few country solo females. As I've heard when requesting etc., some radio folks love to blame it on Kellie's outstanding songs, listeners, labels, and everything else under the sun but the truth couldn't be more obvious. Can't blame research, songs, sales or anything because in all areas she outpaced many men radio played more and past her singles on the chart. Some claim it's research but with every single Kellie proved that enough listeners love and want to hear her songs. So I challenge all programmers or anyone to show me any valid research showing that Kellie's singles scored significantly less with listeners than all other equally played songs radio played past them (significantly = enough to justify dropping her from #8 to #60). Email me at with that and any comments you don't want to post here.

"At 54 years old, with more than three decades of her music career to look back on, Reba McEntire stays current by keeping up with what the younger girls in the music business are up to. She tells that she likes a lot of what Taylor Swift and Kellie Pickler are doing, and predicts long-lasting careers for both."

"There is always room at the top." - Daniel Webster

Chris - Loyal country radio listener for years and very disappointed with the severe lack of great country female voices and songs on country radio

Mike O'Malley said...

Thanks, Chris for your comments and opinions. In fact I saw Kellie on the Taylor tour you mentioned when it stopped in New Jersey.

Kellie is a wonderfully talented singer-songwriter but also I think an outstanding all-around entertainer. She’s quick, funny and very at home in front of a camera. Who can forget her as the Tonight Show Superbowl Correspondent in 2008?

In all my years though, I’ve never heard of an overt or covert effort to have a hard cap of women (or men or groups) on the charts.