December 4, 2023

Baby, It’s Cold Outside won’t be played on some radio stations, including CBC

From The Canadian Press CBC

Rogers removes from playlist song commonly played during holidays

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is getting a chilly response from Canadian radio stations this year.

CBC said Tuesday it will join at least two other broadcasters in the country, Rogers Media and Bell Media, who have pulled the controversial holiday favourite out of their rotations this year.

That comes as the duet, written back in 1944, faces renewed scrutiny over what some say are inappropriate lyrics in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Earlier this week, Cleveland radio station WDOK-FM announced it stopped playing the song in response to listener feedback. Some people took issue with lyrics where one singer is trying to persuade the other to stay inside, with exchanges that include, “What’s in this drink?” and “Baby, don’t hold out.”

Bell Media spokesperson Scott Henderson said the company, which runs two 24-hour Christmas stations in Vancouver and Ottawa, didn’t include the Christmas tune on its playlists this year. But it also told stations it doesn’t plan to reintroduce the song in the future.

‘2 camps regarding this issue’

CBC public affairs head Chuck Thompson said CBC Music will be pulling the song from its rotation as of midnight.

“Song lyrics are always open to interpretation, and we fully acknowledge there are two camps regarding this issue,” he said.

“While we consider both points of view, and in light of the times we are living in, we have chosen to remove the song, for the time being, from two of our holiday music streams.”

Rogers runs a number of all-Christmas music stations, including 98.1 CHFI-FM in Toronto and 98.5 CIOC-FM in Victoria.

Spokesperson Caitlin Decarie says the broadcaster also removed the song this year, but declined to outline how it reached the decision.

“There are so many wonderful songs that celebrate the holiday season,” she said.

A holiday classic

Baby, It’s Cold Outside has been considered a holiday classic ever since it won the Academy Award for best original song in the film Neptune’s Daughter, starring Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalbán.

It’s since been covered countless times by singers such as Ray Charles and Betty Carter, Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé, Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart, and Emilie-Claire Barlow and Marc Jordan.

Concern over the song has existed for years, leading to many reinterpretations of the lyrics.

Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt flipped the gender roles in a performance for the pop singer’s 2013 holiday special with the Muppets.

And two years ago, Minnesota couple Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski rewrote the lyrics to include lines about consent, such as a response to the woman’s line “I ought to say no, no, no” with the man saying: “You reserve the right to say no.”

With files from CBC News

IMAGE: Esther Williams, left, and Ricardo Montalban perform Baby, It’s Cold Outside in the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter. The song has been performed by celebrities from Ray Charles to Michael Bublé. (YouTube)

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