The fight for country radio is one that classic country artists have been fighting for many, many years. George Jones made his stand on this matter very clear on February 21, 1998.
Seventeen years ago, Jones and his wife Nancy sat down backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and discussed this hot topic.
Jones was asked a simple question: "What do you think about country radio today?" He did not skip a beat when responding, so you know he had been thinking about this for a long time.
"Well, I’m not the happiest person with it. What I really hate about the format of country music today I guess is mainly there’s so many people out there that still love to hear the good, old-fashioned traditional country music, and there is room for it,” Jones said. “They can’t tell me there’s not room for it. But they will definitely not play any of it at all anymore. Because of that, it’s not me they’re pushing out and doing harm to. What they’re doing is harming the people that have stood by traditional country music for so many years. They want to still hear it. They can’t hear it. There’s hundreds of thousands of them out there that are being neglected after standing by country music for so many, many many years. And there is room for it, and it’s a shame they can’t open that door back up, and give a little bit of it back to them that has made them be able to be where they are today.”
He was asked if he's ever been told his music is "too country." Jones responded,
“Oh that makes me sick. I’ve heard that for so long. My God, what do they think country is? They get on the radio and they say, ‘Your #1 country station in this area!’ Then the play ‘am-diddy-biddy-boddie’ and all that stuff. What do they call country music you know? My goodness. What we’re taking about is traditional country music, what started this whole thing to start with. And the people are still out there in their homes and riding around in their cars, and they still love to hear it….They don’t know what country radio is anymore."
Jones makes it clear that he is not going to battle for himself, he is going to battle for the fans. The fans who have loved traditional country music for so long, and now they don't have a radio station playing the music they like. He believes it is age discrimination. He says, "If you're over 40, you don't get played. George Strait's been lucky."
Jones is a passionate performer, so it's no surprise he is passionate about his fans and his opinion about this topic.
Watch the interview below.
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