Country Radio Stations Are Quietly Planning to Reinstate Morgan Wallen — “We’re Losing Core Listeners”

After abruptly removing Morgan Wallen from their playlists last week, country radio station program directors say they’re getting flooded by fans demanding his reinstatement. “We’re losing core listeners,” one program director told Digital Music News.

Country radio stations are now grappling with a serious backlash after removing Morgan Wallen from their playlists last week — with some stations fearing the loss of core listeners and plotting ways to quietly reinstate the singer. According to details shared with Digital Music News this weekend, multiple stations nationwide are getting flooded by Wallen fans demanding the singer’s reinstatement, with ‘all manner of threats and the like’ being hurled at those manning the phones.

In many cases, the demands devolve into arguments, with callers threatening to stop listening to the station entirely. “We know the situation and believe me, we get it and understand, but that’s not what we want to be hearing,” one program director relayed. “We’re losing core listeners over this, [especially] younger core listeners.”

Starting Tuesday evening, major broadcast radio conglomerates issued firm top-down directives to their stations to remove Morgan Wallen’s music immediately. The country star was filmed uttering a racial slur outside of this residence after a night of partying, and faced a massive rebuke from hundreds of stations nationwide. Conglomerates Entercom, iHeartRadio, and Cumulus were among the networks removing the singer immediately from their airwaves.

But that provoked a backlash of its own. One problem, according to a program director at a major market station, is that Wallen was a serious draw prior to his removal — with ‘7 Summers’ particularly popular. In many cases, stations went from heavy rotation — sometimes on multiple hit songs from the singer — to a cold turkey removal. That made the removals highly-noticeable, and a powder keg for fans who felt Wallen was unfairly victimized by ‘cancel culture’.

The situation mirrors other surprising trends following Wallen’s industry rebuke. Despite a near-ubiquitous music industry cancellation by radio stations, music streaming platforms, CMT, the Country Music Awards, SiriusXM, Pandora, and even Wallen’s label, Big Loud/Republic, Wallen’s album sales started to explode in response.

Since that point, more data has emerged showing massive increases in Spotify followers and streams — even though Wallen was removed by every marquee Spotify playlist. Plays and followers have also increased on nearly every other platform, including SiriusXM-owned Pandora, which also nixed the singer. Beyond that, Wallen’s followers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are also surging.

But zealous Morgan Wallen fans are introducing a new element into the equation. And this is getting ugly in some cases: according to one report, the CEO of Wallen’s label, Big Loud, has been getting doxxed. Big Loud decided to ‘indefinitely suspend’ Wallen’s contract, a move that could open the door for legal action (and perhaps a contractual release) by Wallen. Big Loud is releasing Wallen’s music through Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group.

Separately, Wallen remains booked for several major country festivals and future tour dates.  Those are obviously uncertain given COVID-19, but there haven’t been any cancellations (Wallen’s touring agency, William Morris, also dropped the singer). Interestingly, a trending question on Google over the past few days has been ‘is Morgan Wallen still opening for Luke Bryan’.

For radio stations, the removal offers a stark reminder of traditional radio’s diminished power among music fans.

Despite a near-100% removal of radio plays, the Wallen train didn’t slow down — instead, it accelerated.  One of the reasons is that most of Wallen’s plays are happening on streaming platforms, with fans pressing play. Alienating country fans — especially younger fans — is a difficult thing to do in that context, regardless of the reasons.

That appears to be creating tension between local radio stations and their corporate parents, with stations pushing back and strategizing ways to quietly reinstate Wallen if (and when) things die down.

 

 

63 Responses

  1. Stewart

    This is so wrong on so many levels. I will be canceling my Sirius radio. I’m very disappointed in the country music industry.

    • Thul

      You’ve posted under 4 different screen names to try and make a case. How many times are you going to “cancel Sirius”? Jeez, you’re stupid.

    • Your NOT A MUSICIAN IF

      IF You see every gesture to support free speech as helping a racist

      You support the Dixi Chicks for speaking out against Bush and his war?

      You don’t pick and choose who gets free speech

      It’s free speech!!!!

      Musicians used to believe in that!!

      Bunch of soft handed greesy lipped summer children

      Fake ass entertainers

      Can’t wait for the market to crash and you phonies get the FRUCK OUT OF MY PROFESSION !!!

      Your no musicians!!

      This place crawls with lawyers and posers!!!

    • you're a schmuck get a life

      wah my critical theory puzzle that i’ve invested my whole life into isnt working out! – whiney stewart

    • Anna McKeon

      I’m sure disappointed in Nashville, CMT ,country radio stations and those neighbors! Okay he used a word that wasn’t appropriate in any situation, unless your black then you can use it freely without Consequences! He apologized yet his punishment is going to be his career! Now come on!

      • Goov

        Honestly! Most rappers talk about murder, drugs, rape. They use racial slurs freely and nothing happens. Morgan says one thing and he’s gone because he’s white??? So who’s racist, they are racist!

    • Mark

      I just cancelled my Sirius subscription this morning after 12.5 years of service. What a pathetic decision they made and from what the service rep tells me 1000s have done the same for this reason. I also sold my shares. What a disgrace.

  2. Stewart

    This is so wrong on so many levels. I will be canceling my Sirius radio. I’m very disappointed in the country music industry.

    • Your mom wants her phone back!

      You Can’t cancel what you get for free!
      Libtards never buy anything!!!
      Socialists have no money

  3. Hank

    It’s totally cancel culture…instead of forgiveness & understanding it’s just cancel them!!! Totally wrong! I have cancelled my Sirius XM & streaming!!!!!

      • Umphrey

        Yeah, bring back and promote racism. Give people who perpetually put down others based upon skin color a platform for their hate. That’s a good thing for humanity. Idiots

        • Anonymous

          Give me a break! Did you see the video?! He didn’t put down anyone based upon skin color. He was drunk and messing around with a friend. There was no malice involved. But I’m sure you’ve never done anything stupid…

          • Anonymous

            Absolutely rite……. Pretty sad, that neighbor started something that wasn’t anything. People can’t joke around with friends, without someone being in your business. The world is a disgrace, and people need to worry about there owe lives. Definitely, a sad time for Morgan Wallen and the Country music world. Also, hope for the best Luke Combs…. Maybe, his apology will get him by!!!

        • Brittani

          That’s where you’re dumb as hell cause he wasn’t putting anybody down he was at HIS house minding HIS business like the idiots should have been doing. I AM a person of color and the word he used. It does NOT phase me because he was at his home minding and doing his own thing and not talking to a person of color on any manor.

        • I love black people

          Go take some college courses with ethics, morals, norms, values, anthropology, sociology and learn about the word. He did not promote racism. You are the typical liberal-minded person who says and gives ultimatums where if it doesn’t go your way you throw a fit like a 2-year-old.

        • Ya mama

          GFY. I guess you never said something that you regretted. He apologized. Get over yourself

        • Anonymous

          So help me understand. As long as it’s used in a song the context doesn’t apply. Or it only applies to certain people

      • Anonymous

        Bring Morgan Wallen back!
        Let him be put back to where he was before everyone took him off the network. Fans love Morgan and his music he’s very talented person.

    • Bobby

      Cancel culture? Sure, that’s your new go-to phrase that pays. It’s not canceling – it’s responding. I doubt you canceled anything. If you did, try reading a book with all your newfound free time. You could use some education.

    • Aaron Laws

      Morgan Wallen was talking to one of his friends when he said this slur thats in every sentence on every rap song… This man produces great music ..bring him back……….period.

      • Aaron Laws SC

        i believe in Morgan Wallen…All the time listening to this man…This Dangerous Album is some of his best work..How can you shit hom down? Hes breaking records….is this a way of attempting to holding him back..Radio stations are hurting themselves..He wont give up and us his fans wont give up on him…bring him back ..thanks

  4. Mom in Louisiana

    I’ve turned off my radio completely and will not resume pandora until he comes back. This is insane.

    • Pauly Almonds

      Oh no, they lost one person. Whatever. Maybe in the meantime, you can listen to your old tapes of Hitler speeches. Supporting a racist is a great way to live.

      • ya mama

        Typical leftist. Everyone is a nazi. Everyone is fascist. Go crawl back under the rock u came from

      • None racist white boy!

        So totally destroying someone is the answer to solving racism. We all know racism has pretty much been here from the dawn of time, Its here. it’s not going away, as far as the N word, that’s all it is a word. To some ppl it might mean more then again it might just be the way you take the word. If someone calls you a bastard or S.O.B does that make it so. No it does not. I’m a white man and yes there is a huge problem with racism but I don’t think this is the way to handle it. I actually got into a confrontation once with a black man i mean it was to the point he was gonna beat my a_ _ or I was gonna beat his a_ _. That didn’t happen but we just had a disagreement with some crap that Was going on. The only thing I said to him that was out of the way was calling him a dumb a_ _. His reply to that was uh huh. I didn’t see color nor do I think he saw color I know the color of his skin was not an issue with me it was just dumb a_ _ bunch of crap bc he didn’t know the whole details of the situation nor did I and we both could of handled it differently but I’m sure he was having a bad day I known I was so it only took a small spark to set us off and it just so happen to two ppl that day that was pretty much at the end of their rope anyway if you know what I mean. The biggest problem with racism is what white children have been told or what and how or where they have lived while they was growing up. If you have a parent or relative thats a racist then it’s gonna be passed down to the children.

  5. althea O palmer

    We, the fans of Morgan Wallen, understand what has been said and his apologies, If one can’t forgive, Then don’t expect to be forgiven for the wrongs in others that fall short ! We’re all human and make many mistakes daily ! To ruin a mans career over a drunken slur is overkill ! I will be canceling my subscription with sirius XM and I don’t have an antenna on my truck so won’t be listening to the radio and just buy all new cd’s ! #teammroganwallen !

  6. Mary Neal

    I hope all radio stations that play Country music loses all it listeners… y’all suck ass! Wallen did NOTHING wrong ! And for the neighbor that video him I hope he takes action against your stupid ass!!! I hope u can sleep at night.. and I don’t care what others have to say!!! CMT, acm awards, Country music Radio.. I hope u all suffer the biggest lost!!!!!

    • Monte Joe

      Its not country anymore anyway.That Tractor Rap s##t aint country.

  7. Tina D

    Someone like Mr. TOBY KEITH someone with a record label and some balls should pick Morgan Wallen up. Cancel Culture has to stop.

  8. David

    Ya know I can think of other singers have done just as bad if not worse no reason to prosecute a man over one word that wasn’t said in content not to used as a racial or a meaning way so bring Morgan wallen back and let the man entertain abuse to sum it up I hope all the radio stations and the stream stations really pay for this over something so dam stupid because I really see it coming and it’s sad over one word and we will stand together over this

  9. Beverly

    Bring Morgan Wallen back!!! His fans wont stop until he is brought back. Im sure you all have made the same mistake. The difference is YOU just havent been recorded yet. I do not believe he meant it as a racial attack. This whole world needs a lot of healing and love. Bring Morgan Wallen back.

    • Becky

      I agree, he meant no harm to anyone. It’s not like he was in an altercation with a person of color and meant to do harm, he was intoxicated and as such was not in full control of his actions. That’s what alcohol does; it changes your personality. God knows his heart and that’s all that matters. I have not listened to any country music, except for Morgan Wallen on youtube since this happened. I’m sure the hurt that he and his family have endured from this has been hard to bear and that hurt towards him has been 100% intentional, whereas his comment was not meant to hurt anyone intentionally.

  10. Me

    The neighbors who sold their ‘ring video’ to the evil media sharks should be ashamed of themselves. Morgan needs to move to the country and ignore this complete bullshit. The media has taken this way out of context as well as the ‘industry’. Total bullshit.

    • mr logic

      his next video should be called “thank you corporate loser scumbags who pretend that they are morally perfect.”

  11. Dr. Faucibreath

    America is a dumpster fire. If blacks can call each other niggers, I can say it too.

    BLM=hatred of white people.

      • Dr. Faucibreath

        I just said it three times and clicked my heels. Do you want to loufa my stretchmarks, nigga?

  12. Miss Curious

    Let’s make a comparison, shall we? Micheal Jackson paid upwards of $200 MILLION in payouts to 20+ children over child molestation charges. He is not only streamed & played on all stations, but revered. Can you separate the artist from the alleged actions? Yes is the clear consensus. This crappy TMZ clip is where you draw the line?? Give me a break!

    • Apples/Oranges

      He was not found guilty of anything. Include that in your comparison, stupidass.

      • Angelito

        He fingered children’s bungies. MJ was a monster who got away with it—until he amped out on anesthesia.

        Now, his “kids” are basket cases. How could they not be?

    • Woke is winning

      A direct quote by Marylin Manson on gang banging a deaf girl with his band : “The water hadn’t really rinsed her off yet, and he started making out with her where urine had just been on her lips. If he knew that she was covered in urine, he probably wouldn’t have cared anyway”. Manson has been in the news for decades – accused of rape & abuse. Pandora/Spotify: let’s continue to stream this guy.

  13. Priscilla Harbin 10

    Morgan needs to be back, with different people, than the one’s who let him down.

  14. Boss man

    Racism is a belief, its an internal hatred for people based solely on the color of their skin. It is not a word. Saying the “n” word does NOT make you racist, and not saying it doesn’t automatically mean that you aren’t racist. Yes there is a way to use it that can make it racist, but that is not what happened in Morgan’s situation. It was not said in hatred, it was not directed at a person of color. Just another word. When the word is used on a regular basis by people all over the country it loses meaning. I don’t use it, but I also don’t use 3/4 of the other language he used in the video.

  15. Peggy

    Bring Morgan back! Ridiculous to ruin a career over something this stupid. He was at his home and just having fun with his friends. He Should sue the person who videoed his privacy. Stop acting like he committed a terrible crime! Seems like some people are just jealous of his success. Leave him alone!

  16. Herman

    Yeah, then they should drop this idiot on his head. This isn’t cancel culture. That is an overused term. This is a results of his lack of moral conduct or good judgement.

  17. Nic

    Fuc* the left, do a deal with Nancy or DA Coe for a remake of a real song. Make us proud.

  18. Eric

    Yet I can go to many SiriusXM channels and hear that word constantly. Let’s stop pandering to people who are just looking to get offended by something.

  19. Love that boy from East Tennessee

    The country music industry has only caused more separation. Apparently, they have a whole lot of fixing to do. As Maren Morris points out, they have favored some individuals over others, and their actions speak far louder than any word spoken out that was not meant for harm. Country music industry, you need to fix yourself, get that plank out of your own eye! Love that boy from East Tennessee!