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Chicks Boycott Overblown

Country trio still ruling the roost on radio

While rock acts like Pearl Jam have gone relatively unchallenged
when protesting the war on Iraq, the Dixie Chicks found out the
hard way that such sentiments didn’t fly as well with the
flag-waving country set. After Lubbock, Texas, born singer Natalie
Maines’ remarked at a March 10th London show that she was “ashamed
the president of the United States is from Texas,” reports of
boycotts abounded. But Jaye Albright, a consultant to fifty country
radio stations in the U.S. and Canada, calls the controversy “a
tempest in a teapot.”

“Out of some 2,100 country stations in America, maybe five or
six boycotted the Chicks, and most of them only for a day or two as
a publicity stunt,” says Albright, singling out a bulldozing of
Chicks CDs by Shreveport, Louisiana, station KRMD that drew an
estimated 200 to 400 listeners. “A station can get that many people
at any remote broadcast from a car dealership. It was very
underwhelming, almost laughable.”

The Dixie Chicks’ U.S. arena tour, which kicks off May 1st in
Greenville, South Carolina, has also enjoyed strong sales. The tour
set an industry mark, selling out fifty-one out of fifty-nine dates
the day tickets went on sale.

Maines quickly issued a personal apology to President Bush last
week for her “disrespectful” remark. So far the storm has had no
ill effect on the album sales for the band’s Home, which
sold 124,000 over the past week, good enough for Number Four on the
charts. Next week’s charts, which represent the sales week from
March 16th through March 22nd, might provide an even better
barometer as to whether the statement will have any ill effect on
the band’s popularity.

Newswire

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