Looking For The Unicorn
I don’t listen to terrestrial radio anymore. Well, not anymore completely. I should say not much. Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of the talk. I’m not a fan of the commercials. Then, there’s the content. It’s just not that…good.
We have a couple of local country stations in Southern California that are pretty popular. I’ve tried listening to both of them, but that doesn’t last longer than an hour. One is slightly better than the other, but that isn’t saying much. Usually it’s because it’s very, eh…bro.
Every now and again I’ll hear Kelsea Ballerini. Or maybe even Jimmie Allen. But mainly I get the same white dude-bros over and over again. I would love to hear “Black Like Me” just once. Yet I doubt it’s in their programming. Hell, I don’t even think they played “Why Baby Why”. Or, if they did, maybe I wasn’t listening that day.
I don’t think I’m the audience they’re catering to, anyway.
This is due in part to a pervasive myth that there simply are no Black listeners. This could not be further from the truth. Country music has many Black fans.
The question is do Black fans feel welcome when they do not see nor hear those who look like them. (By the way, if your response to this is that they played Charley Pride or are playing Darius, then you’re a huge part of the problem and I’m not addressing you anymore. Two Black artists does not solve a problem.)
Country radio plays mostly white artists who appropriate the sounds, especially those of Black and Latinx culture. Um, why not just play the BIPOC artists instead?
They claim that we’re Black fans aren’t listening, but we are. Folks just aren’t hearing.
I think I would have more luck finding an unicorn than I would Black artists on the radio in regular rotation.
In hopes of finding that unicorn, I’ve shifted my attention in the past few years to SiriusXM. Yet, I’ve been disappointed there, too.
While Outlaw Country has given me more of the traditional sound I crave, I even with that they too would add more artists of color. I jump over to The Highway and hear Jimmie Allen, but even then there’s too much dude-bro play after that.
I mean, just right now, SiriusXM has at least 30 freaking country channels. I’ve perused what’s playing right now. I would have to flip back and forth at least eight times to hear a mix of what I’m looking for on country radio. Even rushing through those 30 country channels this afternoon I only saw one Black artist.
I would just love to find that one magical station that would play “Geraldene” in rotation with “Nightflyer” and “Drunk and I Miss You”, the latter of which radio seems to have slept on. Is there a station for the fans like me?
Eh, I’ve decided to create my own mix on YouTube Music.
I’m not sad. I’m not disappointed. There is everything I want to hear and everyone is listening.
I am not angry about the fact they aren’t playing Mickey. I’m not disappointed they’re playing the same Luke Bryan song. I’m not confused about why every song has that same “slap”.
It’s just damn good music every day, all day, all the time.
I’m hearing Rissi. I’m hearing Allison. I’m hearing Mickey. I’m hearing Amythyst.
The DJ is listening. Will country radio bring forth the unicorn one day? Maybe.
But then again, I ain’t got the time to waste and I don’t listen to terrestrial radio anymore.