Bleeping out on the radio

I’m reprinting this from the old LiveJournal site because (a) I figure a lot of you didn’t read many entries from there and (b) I have a very interesting update to make to it afterwards. So if you’ve seen this already, skip ahead to the end of the entry and all is forgiven.

The thing that makes the ratings system for movies such a joke is the way it is so selectively applied. No two R’s are the same, and one movie’s R would be another movie’s PG-13. There is no standard. That’s what drives moviemakers crazy.

Then there’s the world of adult contemporary radio stations. My local favorite, WPLJ, is playing Pink’s new song. I don’t know the title. It’s the one she sang at the VMAs last week. You may remember the visual of her in skimpy leather punctuating every usage of the word “b!tch” with a raised middle digit.

Well, PLJ plays the song now, but blurs out the naughty word. Of course, after the previous lines end with “itch” and “stitch”, it’s fairly obvious what word is coming next. These are songs written for MTV. What else would you expect? So “b!tch” gets effectively censored.

I actually don’t have much of a problem with this. I understand there are rules under which radio stations much live. And I can understand trying to keep the station kiddie friendly. After all, the target demo for most music these days are the teenagers. They’re edited other songs so well that I never would have realized they were edited without hearing the original versions off of Napster. (Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Private Life” and Three Doors Down’s “Kryptonite” spring to mind.)

Here’s my problem with the Pink song being edited, though. The same radio station gleefully ran the CD into the ground for Meredith Brooks’ “B!tch” without a second thought. And I’ve heard them play Elton John’s “The B!tch Is Back” repeatedly. I’m sure there are three or four other more recent songs we could put into this category.

I guess the excuse would be that the word is used as an expletive and not a descriptive sense, but jeez… It’s just very very weird to me.

Update: I heard the song on the radio again this morning. Song rotation on the radio these days is so slight that I’ve gotten good at predicting which songs would air before they do. I just knew they’d play the Pink song after the news this morning, and so they did. (There was a 20% chance they would go with “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne, instead, but they didn’t.)

They don’t drop the audio out on “b!tch” anymore. It’s not squeezed out, edited out, dropped out, or censored out in any way. The word is there now.

I wonder what changed their minds? Weird.


4 Responses to “Bleeping out on the radio”

  1. Jonah
    26. September 2002 at 15:13

    The word bitch has become a naughty word? Huh? Yes, it’s an ugly word, but I never would have considered it a “naughty” word. Sounds like the programmers at WPLJ have their heads up their “naughty word.”

  2. pmpknface
    26. September 2002 at 15:59

    Perosnally, I beileve that the world became a better place as soon as you could say ASS on the radio. :)

  3. Jonah
    26. September 2002 at 20:47

    Actually, you can say ass on the radio. You can say a lot of things on the radio, it just depends on the context. In fact you can say shit on the radio after 9:00 and get away with 99% of the time as long as it’s in the proper context. For instance, if you use the word shit on the air it must be not used to describe the act of taking one or else you’ll likely get dinged.

    Yeah, it’s weird.

  4. Augie De Blieck Jr.
    26. September 2002 at 23:44

    And THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the type of knowledge I started this blog for! ;-)