Breaking the Mold: Launching an Online Country Radio Station to Honor Women

As a songwriter, musician, and entrepreneur, my journey in the music industry has been both rewarding and challenging, but throughout all the ups-and-downs, nothing has both disappointed and disillusioned me more than the rampant patriarchy and misogyny that continue to pervade the industry today, constantly creating barriers and obstacles for female artists that their male counterparts simply don’t have to contend with.  And today, on International Women’s Day and with Women’s History Month in full swing, this is the perfect time to take action and make a meaningful contribution.

After much brainstorming and planning, I am thrilled to announce the launch of an online radio station dedicated to showcasing the incredible talent and stories of women from all walks of life. This project has been a labor of love, born out of a desire to create a space where women can be heard, celebrated, and empowered.

The idea behind the radio station is simple yet powerful: to amplify the voices of women in music, with the aim to create a platform that not only entertains but also inspires.

The inspiration

The recent firestorm surrounding Act II, Beyoncé’s forthcoming album, served as a stark reminder of just how deep-seated these issues truly are. Despite her undeniable talent and influence, some terrestrial ‘Country’ radio stations outright refused to play either of the two as yet release tracks from her newest album – and this sadly isn’t the first time in her career she’s faced such outright prejudice and discrimination, the same thing happened a few years ago when Country-radio largely refused to play Daddy Lessons, her sultry, soulful Country cut from Lemonade.  Dripping with steel-string acoustic guitar rhythm on lock topped with Bey’s spectacular vocal mastery ”With his right hand on his rifle, he swore it on the Bible, my Daddy said: ‘Shoot!’  My Daddy said: ‘Shoot!’   If I’m honest, their pulling this same nonsense again with Renaissance as they did to her before, yet again this time, for me it was the last straw. This is something I have the ability and expertise to do, so today I’m taking Beyoncé’s advice and pulling the trigger.

I cannot stand idly by any longer, just watching as talented women like Beyoncé continue being sidelined and marginalized simply because of their gender, and of course, obviously that’s not all this is about in this particular case.  Regardless, this time I knew I had an opportunity to take action, to do something tangible to challenge the status-quo and build new a platform where female artists could always be celebrated and heard.

I’ve decided to launch my first online radio station dedicated to showcasing the incredible talent and stories of women in music. Country music has a rich tradition of storytelling, and women have played an integral role in shaping its history and evolution. Yet, all too often, their contributions are overlooked or dismissed in favor of their male counterparts. This has become increasingly more pervasive in recent years.  Think back to the days of Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynne, Reba and Dolly all over the airwaves.  Today, most of those girls while still incomparable, are all pretty challenging to find on any modern ‘Country’ radio.

A Solution? Hardly

Launching this new online country radio station is my way of pushing back against not just the distasteful and largely meaningless word salad we’ve come to refer to as ‘Bro Country’ but an effort to do my part to combat the rampant misogyny and discrimination that anyone can clearly see continue to plague the music industry. It’s a platform where women’s voices can take center stage, where their stories can be told and their songs can be heard – free from the biases and barriers of traditional radio.

But let’s be honest, I know I cannot single-handedly change an industry so vast as the music industry, but I refuse to let that stop me from trying to do my part and “Make Tiny Changes to Earth” for the better, if I can, while I’m here. Despite the risks and uncertainties that come with launching a new venture, I believe wholeheartedly in the power of music to bring about change and create connections.

This new radio station is just the beginning, hopefully but the first of many. It’s a small step towards a more inclusive and equitable music industry, where all artists – regardless of gender – have an opportunity to thrive and succeed. And while the road ahead may be challenging, I’m more determined than ever to see it through.

So today as we celebrate both International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, I invite you to join me in this journey. Together, let’s break the mold, challenge the status quo, and create a future where women in music are celebrated, respected, and empowered. Because, to summon the Great Maya Angelou, when we each lift one other up, we all rise.

Portrait photograph of Maya Angelou by Marlene Callahan Wallace from the 1978 first-edition dust jacket of And Still I Rise

Still I Rise (excerpt)

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise…

Still I Rise (excerpt)
Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)

Unequal landscape

The challenges faced by female artists getting radio airplay are numerous and deeply entrenched in the music industry. Despite undeniable talent and creativity, women often find themselves navigating a landscape rife with gender bias, stereotypes, and systemic barriers. These challenges serve as a primary motivator for launching a new station dedicated to showcasing and amplifying the voices of female artists.

One of the most pervasive issues is the gender disparity in radio airplay. Studies have consistently shown that male artists receive significantly more airplay than their female counterparts across various genres. This bias not only limits the exposure and opportunities available to female artists but also perpetuates the notion that male voices are more valuable or marketable than female voices.

Furthermore, there’s the issue of genre gatekeeping. Female artists are often boxed out of narrow genre categories, such as only this is pop or only this is country, which can limit their creative expression and audience reach. This gatekeeping not only restricts the diversity of female voices heard on the airwaves but also reinforces gender stereotypes about what types of music women are “supposed” to make.

Another significant challenge is the lack of representation and decision-making power within the music industry. Women are underrepresented in key roles such as producers, executives, and radio programmers, which can result in a lack of diversity in the music that gets promoted and played on the radio. Without female voices in positions of influence, it becomes increasingly difficult for female artists to gain traction and visibility.

Additionally, there’s the pervasive culture of sexism and misogyny that female artists must navigate. From objectification and sexualization to double standards and discrimination, women in the music industry often face uphill battles simply because of their gender. This toxic culture not only affects the way female artists are perceived and treated but also shapes the opportunities available to them.


In launching a new radio station dedicated to female artists, the aim is to address these challenges head-on and create a platform where women can thrive and be celebrated on their own terms. By providing a space that prioritizes diversity, inclusivity, and artistic excellence, we can truly challenge stereotypes, break down barriers, and pave the way for a more equitable and representative music industry.

Ultimately, our goal is to shift the narrative surrounding female artists and redefine what it means to be successful in music. Because when women’s voices are given the opportunity to shine, the entire industry benefits, and the music becomes richer, more vibrant, and more reflective of the world we live in.

Happy International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, y’all! Let’s make this one to remember!

Ben Killen