Country Radio Station In Knoxville Reinstates Morgan Wallen After Discovering 92% of Listeners Disagreed With the Ban

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Knoxville-based WMYL — aka 96.7 Merle FM — has broken ranks and become the first radio station in America to reinstate Morgan Wallen following a poll of its listeners. Other stations may soon follow.

We’ve reported on the intense pressure facing country radio stations to reinstate Morgan Wallen after uniformly banning his music. So far, corporate conglomerates like iHeartMedia and Entercom have blocked that from happening. But now, one major country radio station has broken ranks with the ban: Knoxville, TN-based WMYL, or 96.7 Merle FM.

In the face of an outcry from Wallen fans, WMYL decided to issue a poll to its listeners. In response to the question of whether Morgan Wallen should be reinstated, an overwhelming 92% said yes. WMYL says that more than 35,000 listeners responded to the poll, and that the singer was quickly reinstated after the results came in.

“We were disappointed by the behavior in the video,” WMYL station owner Ron Meredith relayed in a statement. “But we were also uncomfortable with sitting in judgment.”

Accordingly, WMYL simply turned the Wallen question over to its listeners. “We are going to now literally let East Tennessee country listeners vote,” Meredith said ahead of the poll. “If they say no, Morgan’s music stays off 96.7 Merle. If they vote yes, we will play the songs local country listeners want to hear most. That’s the business we are in.”

Within days of Wallen uttering a racial slur outside of his home, the singer found himself removed from nearly every radio station in America.  Wallen was also banned by SiriusXM and Pandora, scrubbed from coveted Spotify and Apple Music playlists, stripped of his eligibility at the American Country Awards, dropped by his agent William Morris Endeavor, and ‘suspended indefinitely’ by his label, Big Loud/Republic (Universal Music Group).

None of that seemed to matter: in spite of the mass-cancellation, or more likely because of it, Wallen’s album sales and on-demand streams surged.  At the time of this writing, Wallen remains the best-selling artist of 2021, though major radio stations are still refusing to reinstate his music.

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On the ground in Knoxville, the closest major city to Wallen’s hometown, rival country stations are continuing their bans.

But WMYL, owned by M&M Broadcasting, has used the controversy to distance itself from its larger, corporate owned-rivals. “96.7 Merle believes listeners should be in charge of what we play, not suits in some far-off city,” the station explained in its poll.

Given the extremely-lopsided poll result, WMYL’s reinstatement could result in a flock of newfound listeners. It’s a move that could be duplicated in other markets, with larger stations feeling increased pressure to lift the ban if listenership declines.

Elsewhere, fans appear to be exerting similar pressure on platforms like Spotify. Earlier this week, Digital Music News first reported that Spotify had partially lifted its playlist ban on Wallen. The artist recently reappeared on Spotify’s Country Coffeehouse, which boasts nearly 600,000 followers.

61 Responses

    • Edna

      Love that country boy bring him back there’s more problems in this world to worry about then this

        • Anonymous

          Absolutely love his music.. everyone is human and has made mistakes in life .. let’s move on .. If people had actually watch the video it was the least racist thing I’ve ever seen in my life get over it

          • Jack

            So acceptance through judging the level of racism is ok? Cmon, he didn’t do this just once. He’s a repeat offender.

        • Allie

          Edna was right. There are way more serious problems in the world right now. We’re bombing other nations, we’re trying to save lives from covid. And most of those victims are Black, as it affects them at a higher rate. I don’t know of Morgan’s comment. Was it so horrible to punish him by taking income from his music away? If so, why don’t they do the same to Black musicians when they make derogatory statements in their song lyrics? How many times do you hear them singing about Okies, crackers, whiteys, honkeys etc., not to mention their lyrics about abuse to women. It’s all allowed. But maybe you don’t listen to Black music. If they’re trying to crucify one, they should do the same for the rest.

          • Lou

            Justification of something wrong by diversion. You’re a fool.

            Sure, there are other things happening in the world, but there always are. That doesn’t mean we should ignore injustices based upon a perceived pecking order.

            You’re off the rails. Nobody is singing about any derogatory terms for white people. It just isn’t happening in the mainstream.

          • Normalize Reason

            Very True. I guess we should “cancel” all music because its all offensive in some way. Or it was produced by an offensive artist, promoter, friend of a friend, etc, etc, etc. It never ends. More garbage from a worthless generation of do-nothings … again. They need to be ignored because they don’t represent the vast population. They’re children and deserve to be treated as such.

        • Norm

          So, you’re a “Luvin cuzzin”? And who’s ignorant? Also, purist ignoramuses like you don’t really deserve an opinion. Do you agree with everything your favorite personality says and does? I assume by your comment that you idolize fascists and marxists? You know, those people who hate free speech and anything outside of your delicate opinions.

          You’re not that tough… or bright. Cuzzin.

        • Laurie

          Why is that spoken like a true racist??? This guy is a young man that spoke a word a word that is used in every Hip Hop song Women are called Bi:;thes & Hoes. A radio station isn’t supposed to be policing the world, if that were the case every Hip Hop station should be shutting down, 4 their racist remarks about women. Your title could be seen as incest Luvvin Cuzzin. He made a mistake as we all have. Be careful Cancel Culture could one day look into you and find something out. We are Jesus we all make mistakes . I am sure you have some crap in your closet. So Proud of this radio station. I canceled my subscription to XM for this reason, Pulling Morgen music. Stop trying to back people against a wall I will listen to internet music to get this station.

  1. Herman

    So, a larger city in racist Tennessee is ok with Wallen and his words/actions? Wow, that’s a huge surprise.

    • Anna

      Morgan Wallen is right up there with George Jones and Merle Haggard he’s a God sent no matter what you people say out there I’m gonna keep buying his records as well as millions of other people will do also get over it it’s about time we had a young country singer that can actually sing get rid of all the other trash is out there this guy is unique and he’s a real country

      • Uncle ROy

        Merle and George are rolling in their graves over your comment.

        • Allen

          Thanks for stepping up & given the real country music listeners what they want , it’s better to forgive than to hate , remember that , if it happened to you you would feel the same way !!!

          • Jerry Goulding

            Country music listeners want racism? It’s ok to forgive hate?

            This wouldn’t happen to me, because I wouldn’t be racist.

        • MW Fan

          The Morgan Wallen Fans have spoken !! Thank you 96.7 Merle for being the first to reinstate him ! I’m now a full time listener !!

          • Thomas

            And a self-admitted full time racist loser. Way to stand up for what you believe. You’ll die one day.

    • Deborah

      If the black community accepts and doesn’t seem have problem with it
      Then the rest of America doesn’t and many black don’t understand the big deal and have voiced that ?

      • Geronimo

        Your generalizing doesn’t hold water. Wrong it wrong. Don’t try to justify wrong.

      • Anonymous

        Agree 100 percent .. literally everyone you see says it wasn’t Malicious.

        • Harvey Mudd

          So referring to someone using a racist term is ok as long as it wasn’t malicious? You’ve lost you mind.

          • Ronnie

            Why is it ok for rappers to say it in a rap video or call women bitches and mean it. But let a drunk white man say it while he’s talking to his buddy not like he was out on the street saying it to people and he becomes the most racist person in Tennessee? Someone with a logical explanation tell me why a black person can call another black person the n word and it’s ok but a white person says it and they are racist as hell?

      • Dee

        No ma’am! My people of the right mind indeed Do not amd will not be in acceptance of such disgust. Those who aren’t of color shouldn’t even be speaking on black issues. How can you relate?

      • Wenda Glatkins

        Get over yourself. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be responsible or understand that there can be consequences for actions.

    • Don

      Why is it alright for black people to be racist, have racist music, on and on but it’s the end of the world for anyone else, why is it alright to treat Native Americans less than human and make heroes of black people regardless what they say or do, hypocritical is what it is

    • Normalize Smarts

      Do you people who knee-jerk “racist” have any idea what you’re saying.
      Silly question. Of course you don’t. You’re a cliche.

      • Herb

        Knee jerk would be if this happened one time, but it didn’t. Wallen has done this before. He has solidified his beliefs. How do you justify that?

  2. Kailey

    Thank you!!!!!! That incident was a private action and shouldn’t have been leaked in the first place!

    • Sue

      Everyone at some point say things they shouldn’t, it doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, or other, everybody has made comments they shouldn’t, Morgan wallen can sing! Get over it, there is more to worry about on this earth! It isn’t going to change anything if you remove this guy from everything, if a black artist got caught saying something racist , nothing would be said, what happen to freedom of speech anyway? It was a private conversation anyway!get the fuck over it!

    • Hick One Tooth McGee

      But it was. That’s the point. By your theory, if you kill someone and get away with it, then that was ok. Kailey, you need a mental evaluation.

  3. Cancel Hypocricy

    If you’re so easily offended by MW and Tennessee dont listen to him and dont live in Tennessee. Those of us that like his music are sick of being told we cant listen because snowflakes got their feelers hurt over a slang word that can be used by countless people other than a Tennessee country guy with no consequence. Dont listen to his music dont watch his videos dont download his music dont go to his shows you wont be missed. As fans of an artist that makes relatable music we stand behind him. We miss you Morgan.

    • Cancel ignorancy

      What are you even talking about? People who are offended by his overt racism won’t listen to him, watch him or pay attention to him. They probably don’t pay attention to the South, in general. Enjoy your racism. Jeez. Idiots.

  4. Shaniqua

    I’m so sick of this PC bullsh**, he wasn’t saying it to a poc he was using it just like every other poc would, as a term of endearment to a friend. Get over yourselves. If you don’t like it stop using it.

    • Chester

      How is treating people/groups of people with respect just a PC thing? It’s called decency. You’ve got a lot to learn from your inadequate upbringing.

      • Henry

        You got that right. People here (probably just one person posting and validating themself) are ignorant, at best.

        • Paul

          It is one person. I tracked their IP address. It’s losers like this who muck up this site.

  5. Trump 2024

    Take your cancel culture and stick it up your anus. It’s time to stop playing games with the snowflakes. Get your Kool-aid, cookies and a blanket and sit in a corner someplace crying and offended. I DON’T CARE!

    • Bluega

      Sure, whatever. Cancel this. You and your idiot candidate, Trump, are over. It’s not happening. Anyone using the term snowflake, kool aid, cancel culture is surely a real thought leader and someone to follow. You’re a fool…probably just posting to stir things up and raise issues that aren’t really there. Get a real hobby, you loser.

      • Pops Thurman

        Very well thought out and intelligent. Ha! Enjoy living in mom’s basement.

  6. MW Fan Forever

    So Happy!! Southwest Florida’s station “Hell Yeah” is playing his music too! Morgan is the best and has SO MANY FANS! This is America ??! Let freedom ring!

    • Frank Yugnishen

      So what you’re saying is Americans love racism, and freedom is good for white people, but not others.

  7. Worthless Generation

    Cancel all music because it offends me. I’m offended. Whaaaa. I deserve it. Whaaaa. My mommy didn’t spank me. Whaaaa! My daddy’s a mommy. Whaaaa!

    Cardi B is not offensive at all. More classy WAP songs, please! More white-hate songs, please! More Dead Prez, please!

    What a hypocritical group of morons.

    • George W. Sr

      Yes, racism is good. You seem like a smart person, compared to rocks. Nobody is talking about Cardi B. This is about Wallen. He is a multiple time offender speaking racist comments. Nobody is white-hating.

    • M. E. 2

      You’re easily offended because you’re stupid.

  8. Ally

    This I should what every single radio station should’ve done and how the entire issue should have been handled. Let people decide for themselves. Don’t make the decision for them. This is America not 1984.

    • Slackjaw Yokel

      No, this is America where people became empowered by an egomaniac leader who emboldened white supremacy and now feel it’s ok to blurt out racist comments. It isn’t. People can’t decide for themselves, because they are stupid.

  9. Anonymous

    Won’t renew Sirius radio either if they don’t bring him back

  10. Ole M.

    Zzzz. You haven’t made any valid comment to justify your love of racism.

  11. Anonymous

    Wish they would get him back on IHeart radio and The Bull!! I had to drop them and stream now on Spotify. Oh and I bought his two CDs. But … Damn USA. Let people be who they ARE. Tolerance is for everyone.