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Listeners call for return of banned ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ to S.F. radio airwaves

One radio station in Ohio says it will not be playing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” this holiday season because its lyrics “have no place” after the #MeToo movement.
One radio station in Ohio says it will not be playing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” this holiday season because its lyrics “have no place” after the #MeToo movement. Video screenshot

Radio fans in San Francisco are warming up to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” following a ban on the song, deemed sexist by some, by radio station KOIT, reports KPIX.

The station began receiving complaints about the song after a Cleveland, Ohio, radio station banned it, said Brian Figula, program director at KOIT, according to KGO.

The 1944 song by Frank Loesser, which won an Academy Award and has been recorded by countless artists, centers around a man trying to convince a woman not to end their romantic evening. But some say the lyrics imply coercion or even date rape, reported The Washington Post.

“The #MeToo Movement has really opened our eyes and really made us look at content and lyrics,” Figula said, reported KGO. “I think we need to do a deep dive.”

In addition to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” KOIT pulled a Pentatonix cover of “Hallelujah” after also receiving complaints about that song, Figula said, according to the station.

But some KOIT listeners aren’t happy about the decision, according to KPIX.

“They’re upset!” said KOIT radio DJ Freska Griarte, reported the station. “They’re like, ‘why are you guys doing this? What is going on? It’s just a song.’ While for some people, it means something more.”

KOIT listener Sarah Burns, visiting from Australia, said she could understand why some people found the song uncomfortable, reported KPIX.

“Because he’s in a position of power and he’s keeping her indoors,” Burns said, according to the station. “It can be a bit sketchy nowadays.”

On Dec. 4, KOIT posted an online poll on its site asking whether “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” should return to the airwaves. On Monday, the station announced that listeners had voted overwhelmingly to return the song to the airwaves, reported KPIX.

“More than seven out of every ten listeners who responded said although some lyrics of the song may reflect a different era and a different sensibility than today, still they love the tradition and history of the song, and want to hear it as part of their holiday season.,” Figula said, according to the station.

Cleveland’s Star 102.9 pulled the song from its airwaves in November, saying the song’s lyrics “have no place” in the post-#MeToo media landscape we now reside in, according to a statement on the station’s website.

In Denver, Colorado, radio station KOSI pulled “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from its holiday rotation but then returned it to the airwaves Tuesday following an online poll, reported KMGH.

“We value the opinion of all our listeners and appreciate the feedback we received,” said program director Jim Lawson in a media release, reported KMGH. “Respondents voted 95 percent in favor of us keeping the song. 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.”

In Canada, CBC, Rogers Media and Bell Media all have pulled “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from their holiday rotations, reported CBC.

Women and men alike have taken to social media recently to post "#MeToo" to raise awareness for the number of victims of sexual harassment and assault. People were encouraged to tweet the hashtag if they had been victims of these themselves.

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