She Wolf Radio: A Decade of HERstory

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Can you give us a brief background that led you to create She Wolf Radio?

After working in mainstream, terrestrial radio for years it became clear that there were some really amazing and talented women artists who were not getting the same opportunities and thus nowhere near the same success on country radio as many of the male artists in the genre.

Artists like Sonya Isaacs (“I’ve Forgotten How You Feel” and “No Regrets Yet”), Julie Reeves (“What I Need” and “Trouble Is A Woman”), Susan Haynes (“Drinkin’ In My Sunday Dress” and “I’d Rather Be In Love With You”), Chalee Tennison (“Someone Else’s Turn To Cry” and “Go Back”), and Catherine Britt (“The Upside Of Being Down” and “Where We Both Say Goodbye” with Elton John) were recording really great, radio-friendly songs in the early to mid-2000s but didn’t seem to be given the chance to succeed. In fact, in 2008 Britt recorded an album called “Little Wildflower” for RCA Nashville. The album was released in Britt’s home country of Australia and had a lot of success — including being nominated for Best Country Album of the Year by the Australian Recording Institution Association (ARIA) Music Awards.

But here in the United States, RCA only released one single — “What I Did Last Night” — which peaked at 39 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. RCA never released Britt’s full album in the U.S. and dropped her from its artist roster. Shortly after that, she moved back to Australia. (She has had six albums nominated for Best Country Album of the Year at the ARIA Music Awards. Britt has also won five Golden Guitar trophies from the Country Music Awards of Australia (CMAA) including Female Artist of the Year for “What I Did Last Night” in 2009, “Charlestown Road” in 2013, and “Boneshaker” in 2016 as well as winning Single of the Year for “Sweet Emmylou” in 2011. In 2010, she was also named the CMA Global Artist of the Year.)

It was at that time in 2009 that we decided we needed to create a platform for some of these amazing women artists to be heard. So, we started doing a podcast-type of program (actually this was before podcasts were a thing. It was just a weekly 15-minute show that we pre-recorded and posted on a website that people could listen to with a media player or download/burn to a CD and listen to any time. We called it “Cat Country” as a tribute to our friend Catherine Britt. It featured 3–4 songs by some of the women who weren’t getting played on mainstream, terrestrial country radio like Britt, Whitney Duncan, Danielle Peck, Kristy Lee Cook, Sunny Sweeney, Mallary Hope, Sarah Buxton, Laura Bell Bundy, Emily West, Stealing Angels, The Jane Dear Girls, and Bomshel.

Eventually the 15-minute weekly program transformed into a full-time, streaming radio station on the Internet and the name was changed to Cheetah Country then Daisy Country and eventually, in 2014, it was rebranded as She Wolf Radio.

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Bryce Hitchcock

Today, She Wolf Radio plays not only the current mainstream, Nashville-label artists like Maren Morris, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, and Kelsea Ballerini…but also those that aren’t getting fully represented on terrestrial country stations (Kacey Musgraves, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, Mickey Guyton, Abby Anderson, RaeLynn, Danielle Bradbery, Tenille Arts, Stephanie Quayle, Clare Dunn, Runaway June, Kassi Ashton, etc.).

She Wolf Radio also includes the great women artists from Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, Germany, and Malaysa.

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Haley Georgia

She Wolf Radio features a significant number of unsigned and independent artists (Nora Collins, Alyssa Trahan, Tiera, Maggie McClure, Elise Hayes, Jill Martin, Lacy Cavalier, Chloe Collins, Farewell Angelina, Emily Ann Roberts, Logan Brill, Karen McCormick, Olivia Lane, Ashliegh Lisset, Royal South, Haley Georgia, Jenny Gill, Kree Harrison, Queeva, Alex Tru, Logan Ashley, Janelle Arthur, and many more) who are writing and recording incredible songs that deserve to be heard.

Finally, She Wolf Radio also mixes in the best of the best of the legendary women country music artists like Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Deana Carter, Lee Ann Womack, Shania Twain, Patty Loveless, The Judds, Dixie Chicks, Jo Dee Messina, Alison Krauss, Gretchen Wilson, Faith Hill, and Sara Evans.

That’s a long story. But the short answer: We wanted to give these great women artists who weren’t getting heard a platform to have their music heard — by listeners around the world!

How did you identify your listening audience?

We receive reports that show us statistics including number and length of streaming sessions, app downloads, and the countries where people are when they listen online or via the app.

The listeners of She Wolf Radio are from all over the world including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guam, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad/Tobago, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam, and Zambia!

The top five countries are: United States (currently about 80 percent of the listeners), Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, and France.

How do you choose content that matches your audience?

She Wolf Radio strives to play the songs that the listeners want to hear — which is measured by requests made via the She Wolf Radio app, social media posts and tags, direct messages, and emails. Typically, we receive anywhere from 150–200 requests each day. We also take into account the amount of likes, shares, retweets, etc. on the social media posts of the artists that are featured on She Wolf Radio. The She Wolf Radio app also includes the ability to “like” and “dislike” each song and we get the numbers for those each week — and there is a comment form where listeners can make suggestions for the songs they want to hear.

We also are always looking to discover new (and new-to-us) artists who are writing and recording great music — we learn of these artists through suggestions by fans (or the artists themselves) or by finding these artists referenced on other artists’ social media platforms, through concerts and live showcase events, as well as surfing through YouTube for videos from talented individuals and bands.

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Maggie McClure

There are lots of different kinds of “radio” nowadays. What’s the difference between internet radio, digital radio, and terrestrial radio?

This is how WE view the different platforms: Terrestrial radio is made up of the radio stations that are on the AM and FM radio frequency. This is the traditional form of radio. Satellite radio operates very similarly to terrestrial radio — except that the signals are broadcast via satellites instead of radio frequency. Digital radio platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Pandora, and Amazon Music allow listeners to either listen to playlists of songs based on their likes/listening preferences (or those of others who create the playlists). Internet radio is typically programmed more like a terrestrial or satellite radio station and can be streamed in real time either online or via an app (if available). Terrestrial radio is the only platform that is limited in listenership area based on the location of the radio station — unless that terrestrial radio station also has an online stream, has its own app, or is part of a secondary platform like the Tune In or iHeart Radio apps.

There are some really great stations out there right now. Radio Disney Country is amazing — especially when it comes to providing equal opportunity to male and female artists. Bobby Bones has started a weekly show that features women artists. There are several Internet stations including Worldwide She and Time’s Up Radio — which is aired on KLMU in Los Angeles and is hosted by Nicole Marchesi with The Women Of Country (womenofcountrymusic.com) — that are helping support women artists.

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Is terrestrial radio still relevant in today’s digital age of streaming and playlists?

Absolutely! According to nielsen.com the audience for terrestrial radio is huge: “Each week, more Americans tune to AM/FM radio than any other platform. What’s more, according to Nielsen’s second-quarter 2017 Comparable Metrics Report, 93% of U.S. adults 18 and older listen to radio every week — more than those watching television or using a smartphone, TV connected device, tablet or PC.”

That’s why it is so sad that most terrestrial country radio stations are underserving and under-delivering these great and amazing women artists! It’s completely unacceptable (in our opinion) that 93% of the U.S. adults are getting so little of the incredible music that’s being written and recorded by women. And that’s really the main reason why She Wolf Radio exists — to provide a platform so that these artists can be heard throughout the world.

What are some practical steps indie musicians can take to increase their exposure on radio?

If we could solve the lack of women being played on terrestrial radio we’d be millionaires! LOL! But that’s a topic for a different discussion!

As far as getting music heard on She Wolf Radio, the process is pretty simple — just let us know about it! Like we mentioned, there isn’t a criteria like “only artists on major Nashville record labels” get played. Or “only established artists with a prior track record of hit songs” get played. At She Wolf Radio, we want ALL WOMEN who are making music to know that they can get songs on our station.

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Tiera

Our mission is to give ALL artists the chance to be heard in the same form and fashion that Carrie and Miranda are heard. We play Kelsea Ballerini back-to-back with Jilian Linklater or Ashley Briggs or Tristan McIntosh. We play a song from Dixie Chicks and then play a song by Steel Ivory or Auburn Road or Post Monroe. We run an artist liner that says, “Hi this is Maren Morris” and then we’ll also play an artist liner that says “Hey Wolfpack! I’m Michelle Pereira” or “Lauren Weintraub” or “Raihanna Estrada” or “Hannah Bethel” or “Lexi Lauren” because they all deserve the opportunity to be on the radio!

We do try to maintain a certain level of professionalism on the sound of the recording (music levels, microphone quality, room/ambient noise, etc.), but for the most part — if you make a good recording, She Wolf Radio will play it.

We were recently contacted on Instagram by a young 15-year-old artist who lives in Mississippi. Her name is Shelby White (on Instagram and Twitter @imshelbywhite) and she has one song that she’s recorded — a cover of the Demi Lovato song “Sober”. She sent us a DM about her song and we gave it a listen. It was a really good version. So, we started to play it — that day. We let her know and we posted about it on social media and she posted back that She Wolf Radio was the very first radio station to ever play her music. You can just feel her enthusiasm and appreciation in her posts and messages. Now she’s being played by some other stations and she’s getting streaming listeners from all over the world. It’s really special to see that happen and to know that maybe we helped in a small way.

What role do you think radio will play in the next 5 to 10 years?

That’s difficult to answer because of two factors: 1) will the corporate programming decision-makers at both the record labels and the mainstream, terrestrial radio stations become more open and inclusive when it comes to women artists? And 2) how will technological advances and improvements alter the landscape and platforms that are distributing/playing/streaming music? Only time will tell on both of these points.

Will terrestrial radio become extinct like the dinosaurs? Personally, we hope not. But we also know that there are more options now than ever (and those options will more than likely continue to grow) for artists to get music heard. We’d like to see ALL the options available to ALL artists.

What would you tell someone who wants to start an internet radio station?

It’s a lot of work! Music and radio might be a passion and it might seem like it would be a fun hobby, but it’s really a lot of work. It’s basically a full-time job — which you don’t really get paid to do! For us, the reward is helping all of these amazing artists get exposure and hopefully help out financially when our listeners buy music or go see them in shows/concert or buy merchandise from them. There have been several artists that we’ve played on She Wolf Radio that have since signed publishing and/or record deals — not that we had any influence in making that happen — but it’s satisfying to see more and more artists moving to the next level in their careers.

How do you use social media to promote your station?

She Wolf Radio is most active on Twitter and then Instagram. We also have a presence on Facebook but that audience is less active and less responsive. We post about new music that we’re playing. We post about songs that we have just played — as well as lists of artists that we are about to play. We also try to share and retweet information about concerts, shows, appearances, new releases, merchandise, etc. that the artists share on their own accounts. Sometimes we make snarky commentary about the lack of support that these women receive from some labels, festivals, award shows, and terrestrial radio groups — but our goal isn’t to just take shots, but to increase awareness about this unfair and unequal treatment that, for the most part, women artists are receiving.

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Hannah Bethel

What can we expect in the months ahead for She Wolf Radio?

More music! More artists! More SHE!!

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Download the FREE app and listen any time from anywhere in the world. Available in the App Store and Google Play — just search “She Wolf Radio”

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