Keith Hill - The Unconsultant
The World's Leading Authority On Music Scheduling
252-453-8888 /pdqa “I SAID TOMATO” NOW I SAY TO DR JADA WATSON “BOVINE SCATOLOGY”
Over four years ago I spoke at Country Radio Seminar on a panel about music scheduling. Folks attended and took notes. Hopefully some learned some things. No controversy. Nothing said at the seminar itself was seen as controversial by folks inside the industry.
A few weeks later trade magazine reprised my comments. Then non-industry folks read it. When the sausage making was revealed there was a tomato explosion.
For four years now there have been numerous articles on the issue of the number of songs by females in Country appearing to be low. I continue to maintain there is no misogyny. Instead there is a system to play what drives ratings up.
Now Dr. Jada Watson from the University of Ottawa has released what she calls a “Study.” It claims to be a “data-driven study of gender representation in the Country music industry, which focused on the role of radio in the genre’s culture.”
The research was also supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada.
The “Study” also claims to have been done with consultation from WOMAN Nashville.
Rolling Stonehas an article about it.
You can read the study for yourself. Below is my cliff notes version.
What does the study say? First, that council in Canada should get its grant money back. All Watson did was run and tabulate Mediabase reports. There is nothing new there.
Then she concludes
“Also new in this study is the discussion of spins. Focusing on the year-end spin counts for artists gives us a new perspective on how women factor into programming decisions. These results show that women are not receiving anywhere near the same amount of spins as their male colleagues, suggesting systemic issues of gender discrimination in radio programming far beyond what was originally presumed. The last five years (and in some cases 2018, in particular) emerge as particularly problematic for country culture, which lacks diversity and perpetuates gender biases. These results show us the results of programming decisions, and the impact that they have had on female artists and male-female ensembles.”
Let me reprise the heart of this:
“gender discrimination in radio programming far beyond what was originally presumed”
Well uh... sorry. There is NO discrimination. It is simply the result of the Free Market. Especially when it comes to the arena of spins! When songs test poorly, we spin them less or not at all. When songs test well, we spin them more. I’m here to report clearly and vividly that we often don’t even look at the artists and titles. We look at the percentage of Favorites, Likes, and Total Positive Response to make the decisions of what to play more and less. Dr. Watson should know that she’s been in college classes from 2003 until 2015 studying to be the Doctor and Musicologist she is today.I see from her University’s web site she teaches Music Research. I presume that includes auditorium and call out studies and the many techniques of music hook research.
As a researcher I challenge her to explain why it’s the decision makers inside the radio stations fault? It’s not! Those professional broadcasters are men and women who make decisions based on scientific mathematical data. We are robots implementing the wishes of the listeners. The only bias we have is to attract as large an audience as possible and keep them listening for longer than they used to.
As for Rolling Stone a publication that has published articles about rape on the campus of UVA. Those articles by Sabrina Erdely had to be retracted and Rolling Stone paid a UVA Fraternity a one-point 6 million dollar settlement for the defamation that was printed.
Marissa Mossin the Rolling Stone article points out the outlier of Tenille Townes – “Somebody’s Daughter”.Funny!That just happens to be Country music’s most played song that programmers are being forced to play right now.iHeart has Tenille appearing at their upcoming music festival in Austin. iHeart has an internal term “on the verge.”That means the local programmer is told he or she must play the song a certain number of spins.Dr. Watson this is not bias for the Townes record. It is a deal between iHeart and Columbia Records. I suspect that without this “deal” Tenille Townes would have less than a tenth of the spins she has now.
WOMAN Nashville. Yes, I engaged on twitter with them.
You shouldn’t be able to take an opinion and present it as a study result. They blocked me when I correctly pointed out that Twitter site was really ONE-WOMAN Nashville. Staci Kirpach presented WOMAN Nashville as some large group of women working together. It didn’t even number five women.
Please let me repeat that one.
You shouldn’t be able to take an opinion and present it as a study result.
Dr. Watson you accuse me of legions of my co-workers in radio with gender bias. I say no bias exists.
“I hereby accuse you of simply making bar graphs out of Mediabase data and not doing any study as the reasons for what you find. Dr. Watson didn’t study anything. No research. She just made graphs from airplay captured electronically by digital watermarks on songs played on the radio. She makes up a conclusion. It’s not based on anything other that her bias that the men and women in country radio are bad actors”.
Dr. Watson have you even been a Music Director, Program Director or Brand Manager of a radio station? Ever added or changed the rotation of a single record on a radio station? Oh you we’re busy getting a doctorate in Musicology.
Sorry Dr. Watson you have tabulated Mediabase data and made bar graphs out of the data. Then come to a study conclusion... “country radio has a culture of systemic bias against women.”
NOPE! THAT’S JUST BOVINE SCATOLOGY
THE TRUTH... IF YOU CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH
Dr. Jada Watson is using of data without finding WHY it is that way. It’s not because of radio. It’s because of the LISTENERS!
Keith Hill doesn’t have a doctorate in Musicology and has only been in the radio industry since 1973. Mr. Hill merely has a Bachelor of Science in Radio-TV-Film from the S. I Newhouse School of Public Communications and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. (81)
A PARODY OF DR. JADA WATSON’S “RESEARCH” TO HELP YOU BETTER UNDERSTAND
MY STUDY IS CALLED... “A CAREFUL AND THOUGHTFUL LOOK AT THE BIAS AGAINST BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM BY THE ICE CREAM MANUFACTURERS”
THEN IMAGINE YEARS OF GRAPHS THAT LOOK LIKE THIS:
CONSUMPTION OF ICE CREAM FLAVORS
AND FOR THE SAKE OF SAVING DIGITAL SPACE LET’S STIPULATE THAT IT’S BEEN THIS WAY FOR 53 YEARS 4 MOS AND 6 DAYS. YEAR AFTER YEAR BLUEBERRY COMES IN AT PLUS OR MINUS .02 OF 1%. CLEAR AND STEADY PROOF OF THE BIAS BY THE ICE CREAM MANUFACTURERS AGAINST THE BLUEBERRY GROWERS OF AMERICA. COLLATERALLY THERE HAS BEEN SIGNIFICANT BIAS AGAINST THE NEW JERSEY AND CALIFORNIA FRUIT GROWER ASSOCIATIONS.
ALSO OF SIGNIFICANT NOTE IS THE STRONG EXPENDITURES BY THE COCOA POWDER LOBBY IN WASHINGTON. ALSO THE VANILLA ACT OF 1981 WHICH MANDATED THAT VANILLA ALWAYS BE AVIALBLE BY ANY SHOP OFFERING ICE CREAM FOR SALE IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES.
THESE CLEARLY BIASED ACTIONS HAVE DEPRESSED THE CONSUMPTION OF BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM GOING BACK TO THE 1930’S WHEN THIS DATA WAS FIRST RECORDED.
ONE CONSERVATIVE ESTIMATE OF THE DAMAGE THIS HAS CAUSED TO THE BLUEBERRY GROWERS TALLYS THE LOSS OF ACRES FARMED IN BLUEBERRYS HAS ATROPHIED OVER 35%. THE USDA ALSO CONSERVATIVLY ESTIMATES THAT 75,000 FAMILES HAVE HAD TO SELL FAMILY FARMS DUE TO THE BIAS AGAINST BLUEBERRY GROWERS IN THIS ANTI BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM CABAL.
WHY QUITE FRANKLY IT’S NOT A STRETCH TO IMAGINE SUICIDES AND EARLY DEATH RATES AMONG BLUEBERRY FARMERS HAVING SPIKED AS THE RESULT OF THE COORDINATED EFFORTS OF THE PURVEYORS OF CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA ICE CREAM.
IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO STRATIFY THE DATA TO SHOW HOW CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA ICE CREAM MANUFACTURES EFFORTS HAVE EVEN PREVENTED THE BLENDED FLAVORS OF BLUEBERRY WITH CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA. HOWEVER, WE CAN SAY CLEARLY THAT THESE EFFORTS HAVE MARGINALIZED THE BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM CONSUMPTION IN INSPID WAYS.
THIS WOULD BE A PICTURE WITH A SINGLE MESSAGE OF BIAS IF PEOPLE ONLY ATE ICE CREAM ONCE A YEAR. HOWEVER, SINCE THE AVERAGE PERSON VISITS AN ICE CREAM PARLOR 13.47 TIMES A YEAR. CONSIDER THAT ONCE A MONTH AND POSSIBLY FOR A BIRTHDAY CELBRATION PERHAPS. THIS HORRIFIC BIAS IS SIMPLY MAGNIFIED AND COMPOUNDED BY EACH CALENDAR PAGE.
THE BIAS OF ‘WHAT’S OFFERED” AT ICE CREAM PARLORS COMBINED WITH THIS REPEAT VISIT METRIC AND YOU HAVE A CYCLE THAT SIMPLY REINFORCES THE REGULAR CONSUMPTION OF CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA. WE WILL NOTE SIMPLY LATER THAT EVEN IF BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM WAS STOCKED AT A HIGHER LEVEL AND MADE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE THE CONSUMPTION OF BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM WOULD NATUALLY RISE. WE NOW HAVE A CYCLE OF CONSUMERS WHO DON’T SEE WHAT THEY DON’T SEE AND NOW OVERLOOK THE CHOICE. GOD FORBID WHEN IT’S NOT EVEN PRESENT IN THE GLASS FREEZER TO BE SEEN!
TIME AND BUDGET DIDN’T ALLOW US TO DELVE INTO THE RICH AND ROBUST DATA OF GROCERY STORE PURCHASES OF ICE CREAM. SUFFICE TO SAY THE SAME RETCHED BIAS THAT THE CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA MANUFACTURERS HAVE PURVEYED VIA ICE CREAM PARLOR CONSUMPTION IS SIMPLY MIRRORED BY GROCERY PURCHASES AND HOME CONSUPTION. ONCE AGAIN WE REPRISE THE SIMPLE FACT THAT BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM IS NOT AS PREVALENT AND SOMETIMES NOT STOCKED AT ALL BY GROCERS! THIS IS THE KIND OF BIAS THAT DEVELOPS THE CYCLE OF REPEATED CONSUMPTION OF CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA!
MUCH NEEDED STEPS ARE NEEDED TO CORRECT THIS INJUSTICE TO THE BLUEBERRY GROWERS OF AMERICA!!!!! IT WILL TAKE AN INDUSTRY WIDE ALL-IN SERIES OF EFFORTS. THEY ARE:
ICE CREAM PARLORS – STOCK MORE BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM. PARLORS THAT DON’T HAVE BLUEBERRY MUST BEGIN STOCKING AND DISPLAYING IT NOW. THE PLACEMENT OF BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT. IT CANNOT BE HIDDEN LIKE SOME DENT IN A CAR. IT MUST HAVE EQUAL DISPLAY TO THAT OF THE CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA ICE CREAMS. PERIOD.
MANUFACTURERS – ICE CREAM MANUFACTURERS SIMPLY NEED TO INCREASE THE GALLONS MANUFACTURED OUTPUT OF BLUEBERRY TO CREATE A FAIRNESS AND EQUITY IN OUTPUT. THIS IN TURN WILL FORCE THE SHEVLING AND PRESENTATION FOR SALE AND CONSUMPTION OF MORE BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM. THIS WILL BE A BEGINNING TO BREAK THIS CYCLE AND CULTURE OF ANTI BLUEBERRY BIAS.
PROMOTION – WE NEED TO MAKE JULY NATIONAL BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM MONTH. LET THIS NOT JUST BE A SINGLE MONTH PROMOTION. THEIR NEEDS TO BE FIVE AND HALF MONTHS OF NATIONWIDE RADIO, TV, BILLBOARDS, FREE SAMPLINGS AND THE LIKE. AFTER JULY THEIR NEEDS TO BE ANOTHER FIVE AND HALF MONTHS HALO OF THE MEMORY OF THE USAGE AND DELIGHTFUL EXPERIENCE CAMPAIGN. ONLY THROUGH A ROBUST CAMPAIGN OF MARKETING CAN BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM CLIMB UP FROM THE YEAR AND YEARS OF NON-STOP BIAS FROM TWO OTHER FLAVORS OF LEGACY PRIVILEDGE.
MANAGEMENT AND AGENCIES – TAKE A PAGE FROM THE LEAD OF THE US AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERS. WHEN TRUCKS STARTED OUTSELLING SEDANS TWO TO ONE THE AUTO MANUFACTURER’S DID NOT STAND ROADSIDE IDLY BY. INSTEAD THEY SHUT DOWN HALF OF TRUCK MANUFACTURING TO CREATE A SMALLER SUPPLY OF TRUCKS. THAT EFFORT COMBINED WITH THE ARTIFICIAL FINANCIAL INCENTIVES CREATED BY THE US GOVERNMENT IN THE FORM OF TAX REBATES FOR THE PURCHASE OF SEDANS SLOWLY BEGAN TO CREAT MORE OF THE RIGHTEOUS BALANCE OF TRUCK TO SEDAN PURCHASES. WHILE WE HAVE NOT ACHIEVED PARITY GREAT PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE BY THE SEDAN INDUSTRY IN PUSHING BACK ON THIS INGRAINED CULTURAL BIAS.
CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA GROWERS AND LOBBIES COME ON! YOU’VE HAD THE LEAD FOR LONG ENOUGH. PERHAPS IT’S TIME TO PASS LEGISLATION FORCING COCOA AND VANILLA MANFUCTURES TO PURCHASE BLUEBERRY FARMS SO THEY CAN HAVE BLUEBERRY SKIN IN THE GAME.
EATER AND CONSUMERS - REALIZE THERE IS AN IMPLICATION TO YOUR PURCHASE CHOISE. DO YOU WANT THE FORECLOSER OF BLUEBERRY FARMS ON YOUR ... LIPS? YOU MUST STEP UP AND CUT BACK AND SAY NO TO CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA FROZEN TREATS. YOU MUST ADD BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM TO AT LEAST OF MIX (FAIR MIX PLEASE) OF YOUR ICE CREAM PURCHASES AND CONSUPTION.
THESE SOLUTIONS ARE NOT HARD, BUT THEY DO REQUIRE SIGNIFICANT CHANGE. THEY REQUIRE PUBLIC COMMITMENTS, ACTION PLANS AND BENCHMARKS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY. THE DECISIONS DRIVING THE INDUSTRY SHOULD REFLECT AND REPRESENT ITS DIVERSE AND GROWING AUDIENCE. THE FUTURE OF ICE CREAM CAN BE ONE OF INCLUSION AND OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL.