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CMT Commits to Equal Play for Male and Female Artists With New Initiative

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 12: Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlile attend the 2019 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on November 12, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)

Viacom-owned cable television network CMT (Country Music Television) challenged gatekeepers and encouraged talented women with the Jan. 21 announcement of its Equal Play initiative. Per a Jan. 21 tweet, "music video hours on CMT and CMT Music channels will have complete parity between male and female artists. That means 50/50. #CMTEqualPlay"

CMT's role as a potential agent of change should come as no surprise. The senior vice president of music strategy for CMT, Leslie Fram, has been a vocal and visible proponent of equal airplay on country radio for not just solo women but also co-ed groups (Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, etc.). Fram and her colleagues also play a role in the CMT Next Women of Country franchise, which has done everything from predict the rises of Kacey Musgraves and Kelsea Ballerini to position living legend Tanya Tucker to headline an all-women tour.

The country music channel's new initiative follows an episode of Full Frontal With Samantha Bee that exposed a long-running struggle to a national audience through a healthy mix of humor and cold hard facts.

Read More: Tanya Tucker Announces 2020 CMT Next Women of Country Tour Dates

Men with no trouble getting airplay with or without a 50/50 split took to social media to champion CMT's decision. Jimmie Allen merely tweeted "Love this!!!, while Jake Owen went way more in-depth with his endorsement.

"We, as the men of country music are ALL FOR 'equal play,'" Owen wrote. "I have many artists friends that are women and I have two little girls. Also, one of my fave artists is (Musgraves) even bought a sweatshirt at her show. Gonna (sleep) in it."

Nashville-based Song Suffragettes, which is equal parts a weekly songwriters event for women and a united front in the battle for equal representation, also applauded CMT's decision.

"This is what leadership looks like," read a tweet posted by the Song Suffragettes. "Nice job (CMA and Leslie Fram)! Let's get more people in power on board to bring more opportunities for women; whether that's touring, radio, publishing, management etc. It takes a village, let's go Nashville!!"

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CMT Commits to Equal Play for Male and Female Artists With New Initiative