The country music television network that started the “Next Women of Country” franchise is now promising to be “Half Women of Country.” CMT announced Tuesday that all of its music video programming blocks will consist of 50% female artists from here on out.
“Effective immediately all music video hours on CMT and CMT Music channels will have complete parity between male and female artists,” the network tweeted. “That means 50/50. #CMTEqualPlay”
“We want to build on the great work we have already been doing we with our Next Women franchise and start to take action,” Leslie Fram, CMT’s senior VP of music strategy, tells Variety. “We don’t want to look at the same results in a year from now. We hope other partners will join in this effort. It’s important for the future of our format.”
Fram says that more announcements in this campaign will be forthcoming.
CMT has already established itself as one of the leading advocates for gender parity in what has in recent years been a famously female-starved format. The network’s CMT Next Women of Country platform for breaking female artists includes a tour each year that typically pairs a veteran singer with newcomers on the road. This year’s tour will have Tanya Tucker as headliner, with a number of developing acts trading the opening slot.
Each year the network produces a “CMT Artists of the Year” special, and in 2018 devoted the entire program to honoring female artists.
The eternal controversy over the inequity between men and women at country radio flared anew this past week, as a Variety editor’s tweet about radio’s unspoken rule against playing two female artists in a row turned into an online debate that had artists like Kacey Musgraves and Kelsea Ballerini raging about the subject.
The subject was also addressed last week in a segment on TBS’ “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” which included interviews with Fram, Brandi Carlile, Tanya Tucker and Mickey Guyton and a song premiere by Margo Price.