A Texas radio station was not amused by Madonna’s speech at this Saturday’s women’s march, and has banned her music indefinitely.
KTTY, Hits 105, objected to Madonna’s controversial speech, in which she said she’d thought about blowing up the White House—but quickly added that she knew it wouldn’t change anything.
Terry Thomas, KTTY General Manager, said “Banning all Madonna songs at HITS 105 is not a matter of politics, it’s a matter of patriotism. It just feels wrong to us to be playing Madonna songs and paying her royalties when the artist has shown un-American sentiments.” He added, “If all stations playing Madonna took their lead from us, that would send a powerful economic message to Madonna.”
After the speech, Madonna released a statement on her Instagram, “I am not a violent person, I do not promote violence and it’s important people hear and understand my speech in its entirety rather than one phrase taken wildly out of context.” Madonna’s Instagram has since been taken private.
This isn’t the first time a radio station has pulled music by a particular artist due to their statements. In 2003, after making an anti-Bush statement in London, the Dixie Chicks were banned from many country stations across the country, despite being very popular at the time.
These sorts of bans can have long-term effects: Many radio stations determine their playlists based on what other stations around the country are playing. So, hypothetically, 50% of radio stations ban the Dixie Chicks, the other 50% are also likely to not play the Dixie Chicks because they no longer rank as highly in the airplay charts.
In the Dixie Chicks’ case, their career never really recovered; prior to 2003, the Dixie Chicks had six #1 hits on country radio. After 2003, their highest charting single on country radio (“Not Ready To Make Nice”) peaked at #36, and most of their singles didn’t chart at all.
So far, KTTY is the only station banning Madonna—and, even if other stations join in the cause, Madonna won’t likely be much affected; she’s started from a much higher plane of celebrity.
Likewise, the media landscape has shifted in the last 13 years. Radio’s pull is much weaker than it was then, with so much more competition: Pandora, Spotify, satellite radio, iPods, YouTube or Apple Music just to name a fraction of the options available.
If there is a winner in this, it’s KTTY—prior to this, very few people knew about this tiny station in Texarkana, Texas. Now, they’re national news. Madonna’s royalties may not go down much, but KTTY’s ratings will likely go up.