Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert & More To Be Honored By CMT

Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images
Women in country music just got another strong ally on their side: CMT. The network announced today that their annual CMT Artists of the Year special will be one for the ladies; the lineup will celebrate the careers of some of country music's finest women artists.
The show is set to honor Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott.
It's a big deal to see women in the spotlight in country music, because they have been facing historically low radio airplay numbers for several years. That unfortunate reality has limited the amount of interest by labels in signing and developing female talent, which creates a void of women who are submitted for radio play, which leads to decreasing airplay and representation of women in the genre. In short: right now the deck is stacked against women succeeding in country.
CMT are taking a big stand with the special, saying in a press release that the point of it is to "encourage and inspire increased female airplay." In addition, the network will program a day-long takeover on October 17 where only music by women will be played — including their syndicated CMT Radio Live and CMT After Midnite radio shows.
“In this monumental year for women, dedicating one of the biggest nights in the genre to applaud female country artists not only solidifies our commitment, but we hope will spark a much-needed change in the industry," Leslie Fram, Senior Vice President of Music & Talent at CMT said in a statement.
Fans of many of the women to be honored have been participating in a hashtag movement that started over the summer, organized in part by the Women of Action Network in Nashville. Using the hashtag #WomenRequestWednesday, they've been inundating their local radio stations with requests to play songs by women.
Underwood recently spoke out about the lack of representation in country music on a newly launched podcast, Women Want To Hear Women. "...I see so many girls out there, busting their rear ends," Underwood said. "And so many guys out there that some new guy has a No. 1 [song every week.] And it's like, good for you — who are you? While these strong women who deserve it are not getting the same opportunities."
CMT Artists of the Year airs on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. ET on CMT.

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