Despite selling out the Compaq Center in the group’s 2003 visit, the Chicks axed their 2006 visit without tickets ever going on sale. Country radio stations in the area don’t play the Chicks and credit listeners for voting the band off the air, leading to the cancellation.

Messina said he thinks it’s more than that.

Messina told the Houston Chronicle that area radio stations refused to promote the concert. “Radio has chosen not only to not promote [the Dixie Chicks]; they wouldn’t even accept our advertising money,” he said.

Country radio station KILT manager John Brejot confirmed and said the station didn’t advertise bands that weren’t on its playlist, the Chronicle reported.

The infamous critical comments made by lead singer Natalie Maines about President Bush in 2003 have haunted the group, and fans in some markets just don’t seem willing to forgive and forget.

The Chicks still have December dates in Austin and Dallas but shows in Tampa and Sunrise, Fla.; Des Moines, Iowa; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Fargo, N.D. have been removed from the itinerary to add shows in Canada and Australia.

In place of the canceled U.S. shows, Messina booked shows in Canadian cities, which were less of a risk than the South and Midwest.

“Ultimately, we had to pick the 40 best markets,” he said.