As the debates intensify over ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside,’ a radio station in Kentucky decided to loop the song in protest.
A series of bans against the Christmas classic ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ is now meeting a backlash. Earlier this month, a large number of radio stations across the US and Canada started removing the song, citing listener complaints over ‘rape culture’ and issues with sexual consent.
But those removals have stirred a rising backlash, often from listeners of the stations that have yanked the track. In multiple cases, stations have been forced to undo their bans after weathering serious protests from listeners. That includes San Francisco’s KOIT 96.5 and Denver’s KOSI 101.1, both of whom reinstated the track shortly after removing it.
Now, one station is going on the counter-offensive by sharply increasing their spins of the holiday song.
Just this week, a station in Kentucky started playing the song on a two-hour loop. In a statement of its own, Elizabethtown, KY-based WAKY 103.5 featured a two-hour lopped marathon of the song. Five different versions of the Christmas classic were featured in the loop.
“I’m not sure why it’s controversial,” said Joe Fredele, director of programming for the station said. “We’ve played this song for years, you know, this song is older than WAKY is. It’s almost 70 years old.”
Fredele upped the rotation to make a statement: “This song is not about [rape culture],” Fredele later told Fox News. “All it is… is a dialogue between a man and a woman, and at the end of the song, you hear them harmonize together, so they’re agreeing basically.”
Interestingly, the popularity of the song now appears to be surging, thanks to the controversy.
Indeed, the controversy is proving pretty lucrative, with spins, downloads, and streams all increasing.
In the case of KOSI 101.1, pulling the song stirred a highly-emotional protest in support of the song. “We value the opinion of all our listeners and appreciate the feedback we received,” KOSI 101.1 program director Jim Lawson offered in a statement.
“Respondents voted 95% in favor of us keeping the song as part of KOSI 101.1’s tradition of playing all of your holiday favorites. 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.”
Separately, Nielsen Music is now reporting that downloads of the track are surging.
And even celebrities are starting to defend the song. That includes former Dynasty star Joan Collins, who regards the song as innocent cat-and-mouse flirtation. “What’s going to happen to seduction is you are not going to be allowed anymore,” Collins stated on Good Morning Britain.
“Is someone going to have to ask permission of the parents before they can kiss a girl? It’s absolutely becoming out of control. It seems to have happened in the last two years. It seems to get worse and worse.”
All of which spells lots of attention and support for a song that used to blend into Christmas playlists.
Then there’s always this more ‘consensual’ version of the song.
It uses the same backing music, but features updated lyrics from Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski:
I really can’t stay — Baby, I’m fine with that
I ought to say no, no, no, sir — You reserve the right to say no
At least I’m gonna say that I tried — You reserve the right to say no
I really can’t stay — You don’t have to
Perhaps one thing is certain: WAVY won’t be looping that particular version anytime soon.