iHeartRadio, the biggest radio chain in the nation, has joined the ranks of the media companies pulling the plug for now on the music of Morgan Wallen, in the wake of a fast-brewing scandal over the country star being captured on tape using the N-word.
“In light of Morgan Wallen’s recent actions involving the use of a racial slur, we have made the decision to remove his music and content from our stations effective immediately,” says a spokesperson for iHeartMedia, which has more than 850 terrestrial radio outlets in the U.S.
That Wednesday morning move makes it at least a momentary blackout for Wallen on the two biggest chains in America. As reported in Variety late Tuesday night, Cumulus Media, the second-largest chain, sent a directive to its 400-plus stations instructing program directors to take Wallen’s music off the air as of midnight central time.
“MORGAN WALLEN — EXTREMELY IMPORTANT,” read the header to the message sent out by Cumulus to individual stations. “Team, unfortunately country music star Morgan Wallen was captured on video Sunday evening using a racial slur. Effective immediately we request that all of Morgan Wallen’s music be removed from our playlists without exception. More to follow.”
DSPs also appear to be taking action, although not yet releasing official statements. As of late Tuesday night, Wallen’s songs no longer appeared on Spotifys playlist of the top 50 Hot Country songs. And the star no longer appeared anywhere among the dozens of photos or track listings or playlists on the home page of Apple Music Country. This was a radical development for someone who has been called the biggest out-of-the-box streaming success in country music history.
A statement is said to be coming from the labels that jointly release Wallen’s music, Republic Records and Big Loud.
Wallen’s initial statement — first released to TMZ and confirmed by his reps Tuesday evening — was to say: “I’m embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”
A video posted on TMZ Tuesday and reportedly recorded by Wallen’s neighbors shows him yelling profanities after a night out in Nashville, including the N-word.
Wallen currently has the No. 1 album in the country for the third week in a row with “Dangerous: The Double Album.”