Saturday, June 17, 2006

Don't Be Surprised If The Dixie Chicks Turn Up On The Air Against You

Saying "we didn't trust (country radio) with our future," Dixie Chick Natalie Maines spent 20 minutes in morning drive on Los Angeles' adult alternative Star 98.7 with morning team "Jamie, Jack And Stench" (click on this link to hear the interview) last Wednesday.

Frankly, I would not blame the folks at
93.9 KZLA for feeling a little ill-used for this incident. There has been no country station in America which has been more supportive of the Chicks through thick and thin in their airplay over the last several years. Peter Tilden and Ashley have been outspoken in their support of the DCX's right to express their views freely. So, you'd think that the Chicks might have also spent time with L-A's country station that same morning. However, let's face it, this is not the first time that country airplay gets taken for granted as acts do what they have to do to get crossover play.

This happened with Shania Twain's last tour (when top 40 stations routinely got more comp giveaway tickets than country stations did) and countless other tours all the way back to Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," when Dolly often appeared on pop morning shows and spurned many country ones, which contributed to her disappearance from country airplay in the 1980's. I suppose country radio probably had the same gripe about Hank Williams and Bob Wills..

Thus, I don't blame Natalie for doing this interview, since she still has "no regrets" for any of her statements and actions. I do wish, if she didn't want to also do KZLA, she had at the very least politely corrected the misstatement by Jamie about "no (country/radio) airplay."

Here are the facts: of the 159 monitored stations which were playing the Dixie Chicks' music in the last seven days, 53 were country. That means they are still getting more airplay from country than any other format. Some acknowledgement of that might have been nice.

42 AC stations are playing the Chicks and also 42 Hot AC's. 11 Adult Album Alternatives, six alternatives and one active rocker are on their music this week too. Given that, as Natalie said last Wednesday to the Clear Channel-LA morning team, "concerts sales are a bit slow," you sure can't blame them for going where they get airplay. But, if you're country and in a market where their tour stops, a word of warning: don't be surprised if you hear them on the air across the street.

It would be nice to hope that they'll show more awareness of the country radio support where it has been happening, but it looks like perhaps that will not be a given.

In other Dixie Chicks news (click to read) of the past week:

* The most likely Milwaukee home for their new album, "Taking the Long Way," would have been WMIL-FM (106.1).
"They asked not to be played between Toby and Reba," says operations manager Kerry Wolfe. "And I can't do that."

*
London (Guardian) review: Spitting out the words that trace her descent into infamy, Maines is dramatic and unrepentant, her voice switching from a breathy whisper to full-on attack. Still, it's a long time before she looks comfortable or smiles.

*
Americana Awards leans to the left with Dixie Chicks

*
The Dixie Chicks are on 'Later' tomorrow (BBC2, 11.35pm)

*
Dixie Chicks add Canadian shows

1 comment:

Dave Nicholson said...

Here's a quick thought on the Dixie Chicks. My concern is that in the national media interviews and the themes throughout their latest recordings are hate and bitterness. Are they justified? I'm not sure. Will our listeners pick up on this? Yes, I believe they will. Many of our listeners turn to us for solace from the grind of the everyday world. Who needs to hear hate spewed on their favorite country station?