On Friday afternoon (June 16), Lindsay Ell did what country artists know as an unspoken rule: don’t ever publicly air your grievances against radio. With one tweet, she inspired an ongoing conversation on the gender bias within the genre and boldly encouraged a slew of women to continue to speak out against the injustices they face on a daily basis.
Had a scheduled performance in Sacramento today for listeners. The radio station has asked me not to come bc of my personal life. Sorry guys
— Lindsay Ell (@lindsayell) June 16, 2017
“Had a scheduled performance in Sacramento today for listeners. The radio station has asked me not to come bc of my personal life. Sorry guys,” she writes.
The real reason of that cancellation is because Ell is dating Bobby Bones, morning host of iHeartMedia’s syndicated The Bobby Bones Show, who is a direct competitor to CBS Radio-owned Sacramento radio station KNCI (105.1 FM). Ell was set to perform with Chase Bryant that day for KNCI but earlier that morning her name had mysteriously been left off the poster.
The station has since apologized to Ell, telling The Washington Post the cancellation was a “bad decision.”
“Lindsay is an amazingly talented, up-and-coming artist and today we regrettably made a bad decision to cancel her show,” KNCI said in a statement to the Washington Post. “We only hope that she — and our listeners — will forgive us, and that Lindsay and her team will allow us to reschedule the show.”
Bones, meanwhile, has been mum on the situation until this morning. “I’ve stayed out of this. Not my fight and frankly, @lindsayell can handle herself,” he wrote on Twitter Friday evening.
During his morning show on Monday (June 19), Bones rehashed what happened for his radio audience. “If you haven’t heard, my girlfriend but also artist Lindsay Ell, was basically kicked out of a radio station because she’s dating me,” he says at the start of the show. “They had already said, ‘You’re in for the show,’ put her on the fliers, and last minute they said, ‘No, you’re dating Bobby, you can’t come to our show.'”
Bones explains that Ell has kept their relationship private because of the likelihood of something like this happening. Very little about her personal life is shared on her Instagram page or other social media accounts because she knows the repercussions: certain stations won’t play her music if she’s dating their competitor.
“It really is a microcosm of what’s happening to females in country music,” Bones notes. “There is a group of programmers that look for things and reasons not to play female artists. I have a list of names that have told her specifically, ‘I’m not playing you ’cause of Bobby.’ Life’s not fair. It wouldn’t happen to a dude.”
While the subject of females not being played on country radio is far from a new argument, Bones commends Ell’s speaking out, adding that there are plenty of other female artists who would love to address their issues with radio but they won’t in fear of being punished.
“Females have it a lot harder right now in music. Females have it harder period,” he concedes.
While his statement may be true, male artists are looking out for the females even if radio isn’t. Following the radio snub on Friday, Brad Paisley made sure Ell had plenty of time in the spotlight at his headlining show over the weekend. After sharing the stage with Paisley for “Whiskey Lullaby,” Paisley invited his opener to play her single “Waiting On You” on the main stage in front of thousands of country fans.
“Nothin’ like a girl that can kick your ass on the guitar,” Paisley says at the end of her performance.
While Ell no doubt dealt with some major adversity on Friday, she proves to be a welcomed strong voice for females everywhere, especially within today’s country genre.