Cumulus Media — The First Company to Ban Morgan Wallen — Reinstates the Artist on Multiple Radio Stations

Cumulus Media was the first media company to ban Morgan Wallen in early February. Now, the artist is quietly reappearing on its member stations.

Back in February, Digital Music News first reported that multiple radio stations were planning to quietly reinstate Morgan Wallen into their on-air playlists, despite corporate-wide bans. That followed a flood of calls by Wallen devotees, and subsequent fears among country radio stations that younger listeners were abandoning their stations for good.

Now, several weeks later, Wallen is indeed reappearing on a growing number of major radio stations, including those owned or affiliated with Cumulus Media.

According to tracking shared with DMN earlier this week, Wallen has already reappeared on at least two Cumulus Media stations — 92.3 KRST in Albuquerque, NM and 105.5 WYTM in Fayetteville, TN. Others within Cumulus’ 400+ radio station umbrella are also understood to be resuming Wallen’s music, though specific stations could not be confirmed at the time of this article’s publication.

The Cumulus news follows a high-profile break by Knoxville, TN-based 96.7 Merle FM, which placed Wallen back into heavy rotation after learning that 92% of listeners voted to reinstate the country artist. The difference, however, is that Merle FM is an independently-owned radio station, while Cumulus Media is one of the largest media conglomerates in the country.

At this point, it’s unclear if Cumulus has authorized the reinstatements, or if station program directors have quietly defied the corporate mandate to ban the artist.

In a companywide email leaked on February 3rd, Cumulus Media informed all member stations that Wallen was to be removed “without exception”. The email, whose title was marked ‘EXTREMELY IMPORTANT,’ stated in part: “Unfortunately, country music star Morgan Wallen was captured on video Sunday evening using a racial slur. Effective immediately, we request that all of Morgan Wallen’s music be removed from our playlists without exception. More to follow.”

Beyond that email, Cumulus did not offer any public statements on the matter.

Separately, DMN has also learned that country radio stations owned by other major conglomerates are also breaking ranks. In total, more than two dozen broadcast radio stations have been tracked as playing Morgan Wallen songs, with potentially dozens more ahead.

One network that isn’t reinstating Morgan Wallen is the more tightly-controlled Sirius XM, which also owns Pandora. Others firmly walking away include the Beverly Hills-based William Morris Endeavor, which dropped Wallen shortly after the singer was filmed uttering the n-word. That decision is likely to cost William Morris millions in lost touring revenue: instead of getting removed from upcoming tour dates, Wallen is suddenly a marquee attraction at numerous upcoming country music festivals and is selling out tour dates.

Elsewhere, Spotify has slowly reintegrated Morgan Wallen into a number of its high-profile country playlists. But the singer is still missing from Hot Country, which is Spotify’s most prominent playlist with more than 6.2 million followers.

15 Responses

  1. Zxcv

    Didn’t they fire the PD in Detroit for not pulling his songs?

  2. Beatles v. Stones

    Strategically these stations may have painted themselves in a corner with these lifelong bans.

  3. Lob Befsetz

    Guess “gradual reinstatement” is the plan now?

  4. Vail, CO

    Meanwhile not a peep from Ticketmaster or Live Nation. They managed to stay out of this one.

    • Anonymous

      They can’t afford to get in this conversation…again its we the people that write their paycheck also!! They can’t afford Cancel culture.

  5. La Botella

    I don’t envy the Country Music Awards right now, they basically have to pretend this man doesn’t exist, talk about an elephant in the room.

    • Herr Funkheimer

      Nobody watches anyways. Even the CMAs are polluted with woketards.

      • Angelito

        Tell that to the 7+ million viewers. Sheesh! No matter what name you comment under, it’s consistent, biased stupidity.

        • Angelito

          Grammys were a smashing success, too!

          Hahahahahahaha…

          • Geronimo

            Zzzz. You continue to post, making no real point. Brava, loser.

  6. Clive Wokevis

    We are the woooooke
    We are the woooooooooke
    Take the world make it a woker plaaaace
    So let’s start wokiiiing

    • Neil

      You’re a genius when it comes to idiocy. You’ve cornered the market.

  7. ALEX CHANDLER//SIMI VALLEY CA.

    WHAT HE SAID OR NOT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEAUTIFUL MUSIC♡♡♡

  8. Tom Kilkarney

    Music is one thing, but the person behind it is connected. If you support the music, you support the person and their beliefs.

  9. Nana

    GOOD FOR THEM! Cancel Culture is not working out. Its not working because its wrong . People make mistakes,people say things they shouldn’t but last time I check this is supposed to be a free country with the right to say anything we wish. So now they are aking down
    statues, using cancel culture to run all over other people and their rights. We can’t change what happened in the past we can only try to do better in the future.