Lainey Wilson and Ashley Cooke Break Year-Long Drought Of Female Solo Songs In Country Radio Top 10

It’s been over a year since two female artists have had solo entries on the Mediabase country radio chart.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

April 23, 2024


4:17 pm

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Lainey Wilson, Ashley Cooke on the CMT Music Awards red carpet

Currently, there are two female artists with solo songs ranking in the Top 10 of the U.S. Country Radio Mediabase chart: Lainey Wilson, who lands at No.6 with “Wildflowers and Wild Horses,” and Ashley Cooke, who scores her first-ever Top 10 with “Your Place.” 

Some might wonder, ‘Why is this noteworthy?’ as one might assume such occurrences are common, but that’s not the reality in country music. 

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According to U.S. Radio Updater, this marks the first time in over a year, since March of 2023 to be exact, that two female artists have solo entries in the Top 10 on this chart. This may be shocking to some, however, if you pay attention to the country radio charts, it’s sadly become commonplace.  

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It’s a rare feat for female artists to secure solo success in recent years. In fact, last fall, there were multiple weeks that the Top 20 at country radio did not contain any solo-credited songs by female artists. 

The notable absence of female artists on the music chart reflects an ongoing challenge within the country music genre. This is a topic that gained considerable attention following the controversy known as “Tomato-gate” in 2015. This conversation was sparked by remarks made by country radio executive Keith Hill, who infamously likened the presence of female artists on country radio to tomatoes in a salad.

“If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out,” Hill stated in 2015. “I play great female records … they’re just not the lettuce in our salad. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.”

At the time, Hill cited an analysis that revealed female airplay on country radio stood at a mere 19 percent.

This is when artists like Martina McBride and Jennifer Nettles began to speak out. McBride used her platform to create “tomato” shirts and donated all proceeds to her charity, Team Martina, which supports equal rights for females in the music industry. The shirt was later displayed in the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

Since then, various organizations, including CMT’s Women of Country franchise, have been established to continue to fight for female voices to be heard on country radio, however, this remains an ongoing struggle. 

The current Top 40 on the Mediabase chart features a mere five songs by solo female artists. In addition to Wilson and Cooke other female artists on the chart include Beyoncé at No.35 with “Texas Hold ‘Em,” Carrie Underwood at No.20 with “Out Of That Truck,” and Megan Moroney at No.18 with “I’m Not Pretty.” 

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It’s important to note that Carly Pearce appears at No.12, however, her single, “We Don’t Fight Anymore” features vocals from Chris Stapleton. Moroney has an additional entry as a feature on Old Dominion’s “Can’t Break Up Now,” which sits at No.17 right now. 

This means that currently, songs by solo female artists make up just 12.5% of the current Top 40 at country radio. 

While many have advocated for female artists to receive more airplay on country radio, this clearly remains an issue.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.