After a Cleveland radio station pulled “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from its Christmas rotation due to its controversial lyrics, others have followed suit — but not all listeners are happy about it.
National Public Radio reports that at least two stations, one in San Francisco and another in Denver, ultimately decided to hold a vote to determine whether the song would be heard on their airwaves.
Brian Figula, the program director at the former, KOIT, described the response as a “tornado,” and the outlet cites “hundreds of comments on social media and via email” that demanded “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” be put back on the playlist.
“People are unbelievably passionate about their Christmas music,” Figula explained. “It’s the one thing that you can’t mess with … [Listeners rely on it] to reminisce to the good old days when life was easy and simple.”
In addition, Colorado’s KOSI faced a similar situation after banning the song on Monday. The poll results showed an “overwhelming” majority — 95 percent — of the 15,000 respondents wanted the song to come back, according to a statement from program director Jim Lawson.
“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,” Lawson told NPR.
At the end of last month, WDOK Christmas 102.1 in Cleveland, Ohio pulled the song from its 24-hour Christmas rotation because of listener complaints, according to local Fox 8 news.
The song was first penned by Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls) in 1944 as a duet for him to sing with his wife at parties. It’s gone on to become an enduring holiday classic, sung by everyone from Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart to Michael Bublé and Idina Menzel to Chris Colfer and Darren Criss on an episode of Glee.
But in recent years the lyrics have raised eyebrows with lines like, “Say, what’s in this drink?” and a back-and-forth where a man tries to convince a woman to stay the night despite her continued protests — “I really can’t,” and “The answer is no.”
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The station allegedly received a call complaining about the song in 2018. After a listener poll on the WDOK website supported this sentiment, station programmers decided to ban it.
“People might say, ‘oh, enough with that #MeToo,’ but if you really put that aside and listen to the lyrics, it’s not [a situation] I would want my daughter to be in,” midday host Desiray told Cleveland’s Fox 8. “The tune might be catchy, but let’s maybe not promote that sort of an idea.”
In a blog post on the station’s website, radio host Glenn Anderson further explained the decision:
“I gotta be honest, I didn’t understand why the lyrics were so bad…Until I read them,” he wrote. “Now, I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong. 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.“