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envisions and creates a world that can't exist in real life. It inspires and reinforces
the will to strive, rise above, and move forward. To hope for brighter things to
come. One must ask what about this idea, or the emotions it evokes, would be so
dangerous that it might cause Clear Channel to suppress the song's airing?
The list's existence and resulting actions are a perfect example of how a well-
intentioned attempt at sensitivity can quickly careen down the slippery slope
towards stifled free expression. This is hardly the first time American radio has
taken such well-intentioned, yet censorious, action.
Back in 1940, the NBC radio network banned 147 popular songs containing
potential sexual innuendo, including Billie Holiday 's version of "Love for Sale ,"
calling these songs "obscene." In 1942, the United States government sent radio
broadcasters a list of wartime practices, including a ban on weather forecasts
(which might help enemies plan air attacks), and a suspension of listener requests
(fearing it might allow the transmission of coded messages). In order to safeguard
the morality of America's youth, Billboard Magazine got behind a 1954 effort to
rid radio of black R&B artists, claiming they "show bad taste and a disregard for
recognized moral standards." In 1967, the ABC radio network and a group called
the American Mothers Committee tried to remove all songs from airplay that
"glorify sex, blasphemy, and drugs."
Weeks after the Clear Channel list left the public's attention, its effects were still
resonating on station playlists. At Clear Channel -owned stations in Tampa,
Florida, many of the list's selections were still off the playlist. "We're being cau-
tious and aware of what might be offensive at this time," said Brad Hardin, pro-
grammer for Clear Channel in Tampa. "We're still taking everything day by day."
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Other notable incidents of censorship during this period:
In Rock Hill, South Carolina, the youth group of Northside Baptist Church
tossed hundreds of CDs into a bonfire. The youth group said it was their
way of protesting against popular music, which according to group
members promotes rape and murder. "I'm tired of the world trying to
force us to do things we shouldn't do," said group member Patricia Trovinger .
"You need to put God before all this kind of stuff. He'll help you more than
these artists will."
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Country singer Tim McGraw 's song "Red Ragtop " is banned by a host of
country music radio stations because of its controversial lyrical subject:
abortion. In the song, a young couple decides not to have a child. "It's music,
it's supposed to move people," said McGraw's wife, fellow country singer