Morgan Wallen is embroiled in controversy after a video emerged of him saying a racial slur, which led to swift and intense backlash: His label suspended his contract and radio stations took his music off the air. Recently, though, Knoxville, Tennessee-based station WMYL, aka 96.7 Merle FM, started playing his music again after their listeners strongly indicated they’d rather hear Wallen than not.
The station launched “The Morgan Wallen Verdict Poll” on their Facebook page on February 7, writing, “We think LISTENERS should determine if 96.7 Merle plays Morgan Wallen or not.” The poll was open until February 16, at which point it was revealed that of the 35,000-plus people who voted in the pole, an overwhelming majority of them — 92 percent, or around 32,000 respondents — were in favor of the station playing Wallen’s music. Sharing the verdict, the station wrote, “96.7 Merle LISTENERS have spoken. YOU have spoken and we LISTENED. Morgan Wallen is back on the air on 96.7 Merle. Share this post, tell your friends, and tune in to the only country station in Knoxville playing Morgan Wallen!”
96.7 Merle LISTENERS have spoken. YOU have spoken and we LISTENED. Morgan Wallen is back on the air on 96.7 Merle. Share this post, tell your friends, and tune in to the only country station in Knoxville playing Morgan Wallen! #Knoxville #KnoxRocks #HesB… https://t.co/hSwHH2eMWH pic.twitter.com/HyS8V0Ub7N
— 96.7 Merle Knoxville (@967Merle) February 16, 2021
Ahead of the poll, WMYL station owner Ron Meredith said, “We were disappointed by the behavior in the video, but we were also uncomfortable with sitting in judgment. We are going to now literally let East Tennessee country listeners vote. If they say no, Morgan’s music stays off 96.7 Merle. If they vote yes, we will play the songs local country listeners want to hear most. That’s the business we are in.”
Despite all the backlash Wallen has faced, it’s actually unsurprising that people still want to listen to Wallen: His new project, Dangerous: The Double Album, is No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and has been for weeks now, even after the controversy surfaced.