Across the country, radio stations and their listeners continue to debate what should be done about the 1944 Christmas song “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”
The tune made headlines this holiday season when Cleveland radio station WDOK announced it would cease playing the song after some listeners complained its lyrics hadn’t aged well amid the #MeToo movement.
Now radio stations all around the United States are beginning to follow suit, with mixed reactions from listeners.
A station in San Francisco, 96.5 KOIT, banned “Baby It’s Cold Outside” on Monday, citing the Cleveland station’s decision as well as feedback from its own listeners. However, the decision was met with uproar, and now the station is allowing listeners to vote on the fate of the song via a poll on its website through Dec. 10.
According to 96.5 KOIT’s website, the ban was met with “hundreds of comments on social media and via email demanding that ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ be placed back to the Christmas Playlist.”
Meanwhile, KOSI 101.1 in Colorado, marketed as “Denver’s Holiday Station,” originally pulled the song due to listener complaints but has since reversed its decision. According to a press release from the station Tuesday, a poll with over 15,000 responses found listeners to be overwhelmingly in support of the song.
“Respondents voted 95 percent in favor of us keeping the song as part of KOSI 101.1’s tradition of playing all of your holiday favorites,” Program Director Jim Lawson said in the release. “While we are sensitive to those who may be upset by some of the lyrics, the majority of our listeners have expressed their interpretation of the song to be non-offensive.”
A former Atlanta radio program director noted this is not an entirely new concept. His station, as well as others, “pulled this song 5+ years ago for the same reason.”
“We didn’t turn it into public debate, or turn it into a ratings stunt,” Tony Lorino wrote in a Facebook post. “We just knew it was the right thing to do for the audience we served and quietly removed the song from the playlist. (And, we never got complaints for *not* playing it, either; we had plenty of other great Christmas songs to play, after all.)”
The debate also reached Canada, where multiple radio broadcasters have pulled the song from their holiday lineups.
Nicola Makoway, a representative for CBC Radio, told The Toronto Star that the song would be officially removed Tuesday at midnight with “no plans to play it going forward.”
Meanwhile in Cleveland where the controversy began, WDOK said a poll on its website showed a majority of listeners supported the ban when the decision to retire the song was made.
A poll on the WDOK Facebook page now shows overwhelming support to bring the song back.
“When the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong,” wrote Glenn Anderson, one of the station’s hosts, in a post on the WDOK website. “The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place.”
Those against the song say it promotes date rape, describing a man pressuring a woman to stay despite her adamantly telling him “no, no, no.” Other lyrics like “say, what’s in this drink?” have also raised eyebrows.
Supporters of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” argue that context is important. When the song was written over 70 years ago, unmarried women would be ostracized for spending the night alone with a man, which made it important to appear as though it was solely the man’s idea. Hence lyrics like “my mother will start to worry” and “the neighbors might think…”
Source: Read Full Article