Wednesday, June 22, 2016

6.22.16 Bee-otch of the Day: iHeartMedia

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Name: iHeartMedia
Age: 44
Occupation: nearly-bankrupt media giant
Last Seen: San Antonio
Bee-otched For: giving Howard and Bubba a Swift firing, but all others that might cost them a Tong of money are A-OK
It was a sad day in 2004 when the company formerly known as Clear Channel, iHeartMedia decided to can all their shock jocks simply because of the Janet Jackson nip slip during the Super Bowl.

Many radio markets canned the Stern show, only to have their rivals pick up the program. Of course, when Stern moved to Sirius in 2006, it left iHeart and their competitors wondering how to do radio again.

I remember Howard talking about how CC was now forcing their jocks to sign an agreement that if they did something that would give their station a massive fine from the FCC, they would be the one paying it. Well, say that to Steve Swift, one of the Sunday night mix show DJs at CHR WSNX 104.5 here in Grand Rapids.

WSNX has had a Sunday night mix show called Club 1045 for years, where local turntablists mix together popular tunes in the EDM and top 40 genres. As somebody who's been getting into EDM myself these past few years, I decided to break through my iHeart ban and gave Club 1045 a whirl. The program airs Sundays 8-10p while 7-8p is filled by Evolution which is hosted by legendary British DJ Pete Tong (iHeart syndicates the show and many of their CHRs air it). Swift's segment airs from 8-9p while 9-10 is handled by DJ Digimark.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was listening to Evolution when towards the end of the show, they were playing a remix of Prince's "Erotic City" with the alleged lyrics "funk so pretty you and me/Erotic City come alive/if we funk until the dawn...." etc. Now, I've heard that back in the day, some radio stations were fined for playing that tune, and it was when indecency fines were $7,000. Now, it's $325,000.

Last Sunday night during Steve Swift's first set, he played not one, but TWO songs that contained the word "fuck" unbleeped: "Never Be Like You" by Flume featuring Kai and "Sex" by Cheat Codes with Kris Kross Amsterdam (no, not the 1990's teenage rap duo who dressed backwards). The Flume tune contained the line "now I fucked up" four times while "Sex" - which borrows the chorus from the 1990s Salt 'N Pepa classic "Let's Talk About Sex" - has the lines "let's fuck for hours" and "pussy power".

Ironically for "Never Be Like You", the chorus goes "I'm only human, can't you see?/I made, I made a mistake."

Now, I'm not trying to get anybody fired here. I think Mr. Swift is a fine DJ who is a fixture at local clubs in the 616 while Tong is well-respected by EDM fans around the world. There's that slight part of me that Swift didn't know that those two remixes were not safe for radio, plus the fact that he might have been too busy syncing up the next track for transition while producing the mix show. Plus, the person who uploaded the tracks into WSNX's automation system probably only makes $20,000 per year and didn't catch the profanities.

However, at the end of the day, 1) WSNX won't get fined by the FCC because most people don't give a flying fuck despite them being the CHR station of record for Grand Rapids, 2) Steve Swift and Pete Tong will still be getting paychecks from iHeartMedia and 3) iHeart will still have a staggering $20 billion in debt and will wonder if they can afford to renew Rush Limbaugh's contract.

To me, however, it shows how hypocritical iHeartMedia is. Howard is bad for saying "blumpkin" but it's OK for somebody spinning 1s and 2s to play something with the f-bomb in it. Good thing their stock price is hovering over a buck while SiriusXM is doing four times as better.

Maybe somebody needs to know what Lifebuoy tastes like.

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