I don’t want to get all “when I was younger, people had more respect!” because it’s completely untrue. But I do feel that maybe there were more regulations about what radio presenters could say on the air ten or fifteen years ago (and I listened to the radio constantly when I was in junior high/high school).
This morning, I flipping on Toronto’s Virgin Radio while I was getting dressed, and discovered their morning show hosts were discussing the differences between a “skank” and a “ho.” A caller was giving her opinion. I kind of gaped at my radio and then shut if off. I’m pretty sure no one was going to call in and explain that the major difference between those epithets is a racially loaded one (“ho” being a term often levelled at black women).
Ottawa’s Hot 89.9 station had a promotion/contest last summer during which it “lost its T” and called itself “the new Ho 89.9” while giving clues to find the “missing T.” The same station also had a “Win a Baby” contest, where people who were infertile or otherwise unable to conceive could compete in a vote-in contest to win fertility treatments. I actually wrote to complain about that one, telling the station I found it insensitive (the commercials were pretty gross), and was told that it was “the best thing [they’d] ever done.”
Finally, Edmonton station The Bear recently held a Win a Wife contest. Yep, for real. The prize was a trip to Russia and an introduction to a woman from an agency that pairs Russian women with North American men for potential marriage.
The clearly exploitative “wife” contest got a lot of backlash, but I’m not sure what kinds of responses morning show presenters get when they include truly offensive stuff in their chatter. I have written to complain a few times, and I’m sure others do, too, but stuff like this morning’s “discussion” is still happening. Thoughts?