Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Ottawa radio station secretly hates 53% of its market

It's a little funny, but 89.9 times more stupid.

Make no mistake, an Ottawa radio station trading on a misogynistic, vulgar term as part of a contest is only humorous since it is so grossly adolescent and puerile.

Few in the Ottawa media seemed to have weighed in on the No. 1 station in town among anglophone listeners -- one for which impressionable youth also make up a huge chunk of its demographics -- calling itself "HO 89.9" on air. As in that kind of ho, synonymous with other sexist slurs that demean women. It's kind of striking that's allowed to slide in a town where a grocery chain yanked a clothing flyer after a local broadsheet wondered if its underwear ads were "sexifying" teenagers.So basically it's a story when you can run accompanying art of the underwear ads, but when a radio station is using a sexist slur on air, in advertising and on the web, there's a delayed reaction.

On April 1, last Thursday, the Ottawa station stripped the T from its logo, taking it off its website and its vehicles (their exterior sign at the station was taken down). The morning show has been renamed The Morning Ho Tub (really?). On Monday, the station revealed where listeners have to collect clues to find the missing T.

Playing this off as harmless and an attempt at having some fun is idiocy writ large.

Much of 89.9's listenership is made up of adolescents, girls and boys age 11 and up who are at a critical age for developing positive social attitudes and understanding the connotations of gay or sexist slurs. An over-the-air radio station with that kind of reach among young people using "ho" as if it is acceptable in casual conversation is really irresponsible. It's also a classic instance of white people appropriating black slang in order to perpetuate ghetto stereotypes and feel free to call that an overthink.

Please excuse the imposition of, what's that called, standards.

It's all about the message. When Howard Stern does his thing, it's niche, people are paying to hear it since he's now on satellite radio, and the message comes through that its appeal is to those who are in a state of arrested development (G.A.C.).

This radio station's ill-conceived idiocy is that it is mainstreaming the word "ho," making it seem like a term to be used casually. That's a terrible message to send to young females and males alike. Here one thinks of the Tina Fey character in Mean Girls saying, "You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it OK for guys to call you sluts and whores."

Apologies for going off-topic, but someone had to say why these so-called media professionals shouldn't be saying that on air. Total fail, as the kids would say, and who knows what some Grade 4 or 5 pupils who heard "ho" on the radio all weekend were saying at school today.


Anonymous said...

So true.

Anonymous said...

HO89.9 erHOT89.9 is the #1 station in Ottawa?
I NEVER listen to this station...I've listened to CHEZ...always have.
Maybe that's why the media has ignored this story...nobody is listening.
After all, if a tree...