Local radio changes tune after terrorist attacks

Megan Boldt

Devoted Radio K listeners tend to request songs from The Replacements or Modest Mouse.

But after last week’s terrorist attacks, the University radio station started to get a few strange requests: Outkast’s “Bombs Over Baghdad,” for example.

“We’ve gotten requests for songs that are really inappropriate right now,” said program director Angie Simonson, adding that Radio K refused to play these few requests.

Other radio stations, both locally and nationally, have avoided playing some songs that might be considered insensitive in the wake of the tragedies.

Clear Channel Communications, which owns 1,170 stations nationwide, distributed a list of 150 songs that might be inappropriate to play.

Songs ranged from Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” and Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” and The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

But Clear Channel stations emphasized the list was not a corporate mandate, but rather a list sent around among different program managers.

“This was blown way out of proportion,” said Lauren MacLeash, program director for Clear Channel-owned Cities 97 in Minneapolis. “It was just a list of ‘here’s some songs to take a look at during a time when we need to be sensitive.'”

Simonson saw the Clear Channel list and thought that while some of the songs might be inappropriate, others were ridiculous.

Like Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” she said. “I mean, come on.

“That’s a great song promoting peace. I played that on (Monday).”

Officials at some Twin Cities-area radio stations, such as Cities 97 and Clear Channel-owned 101.3 KDWB, said most callers are seeking heart-wrenching, emotional lyrics.

Rob Morris, KDWB program director, said his station has been playing some tribute songs – sprinkled with sound bytes from Tuesday’s events – a few times each day.

Cities 97 has been playing U2’s “Peace on Earth” remix, MacLeash said.

“People are looking to the station to play music they like, so they can get away from the television scenes,” she said. “They’re requesting songs that make them feel good.”

And University students have noticed a slight change in the songs played on some of their favorite radio stations.

Mark Fiala, a junior mass communications major, said he has heard a definite change in the songs 93.7 FM has put on the air.

For example, Fiala said he hasn’t heard Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” since Tuesday’s attacks.

“They had been playing that song a ton,” he said. “And now I haven’t heard it. It’s probably not that appropriate right now.”

 

Megan Boldt welcomes comments at [email protected]. She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3237.