Oklahoma radio station now playing Beyoncé’s new country song after outcry

A country radio station in Oklahoma that received criticism earlier this week for not playing Beyoncé’s new song “Texas Hold ‘Em” is now playing the tune.  

KYKC-FM added the song to its country playlist, Roger Harris, a general manager for South Central Oklahoma Radio Enterprises, which oversees KYKC, told CBS News in an email Wednesday. Harris said it was also included in playlists of two other stations it oversees, KCFC-FM and KADA-FM.

The move comes after a fan requested “Texas Hold ‘Em” — a country song about Beyoncé’s home state of Texas — only to have the request shut down by the station.

The fan posted SCORE’s reply to social media, which read that “We do not play Beyoncé on KYKC as we are a country music station.”

The response generated outcry and accusations of racism online from the Beyhive — Beyoncé’s ardent fanbase.
Beyoncé RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR - Los Angeles Beyoncé performs onstage at SoFi Stadium on Sept. 1, 2023, in Inglewood, California. KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE FOR PARKWOOD VIA GETTY IMAGES
Harris told CBS News that the station initially didn’t know Beyoncé had released two country music songs — “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages” — following Super Bowl LVIII, and explained that the response to the fan was a “standard reply” since KYKC don’t play her music — but does on to two of its others. In addition, Harris said KYKC didn’t “even have the song.”

“Because we are a small station, we don’t get serviced by the big labels like bigger stations do,” he added.

After emails, calls and more requests flooded the station about the song, Harris said they made an effort to track it down, listened to it, and agreed that it sounded “country.” The station even wrote a post about it on social media.

“We have nothing against Beyonce…and we wish her the best in her foray into country music,” Harris told CBS News, adding that she’s an “icon.”

“We actually wish that artists WOULDN’T get boxed in to certain genres or formats,” Harris said. “If it’s good music, it’s good music.”

The KYKC incident echoed a similar sentiment over whether race was a factor in determining genres when Lil Nas X’s song “Old Town Road” was removed from the Billboard Hot Country Chart in early 2019. Billboard justified the decision then by claiming the song “does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music.”

However, it later returned to the charts after Lil Nas X paired up with Billy Ray Cyrus for a remix of “Old Town Road.”

It’s not the first time Beyoncé has been thrown into a controversy related to country music. During the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Awards in 2016, she performed her song “Daddy’s Lessons” with The Chicks, which wasn’t received well by some country music fans.

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