Madison radio station puts “Baby It’s Cold Outside” on ice, removes song from playlist

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MADISON (WKOW) — A holiday song is causing a little Yuletide controversy this year.

Madison radio station, Hank 1550 AM and 97.7 FM has pulled the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” from its airwaves.

“I know there are listeners to Hank who have said ‘No’ and not had that ‘No’ respected,” said Hank program director Fletcher Keyes.

Keyes feels in the wake of the #MeToo movement the lyrics are inappropriate.

“If someone who had said ‘No’ and not have that ‘No’ respected, hearing the song could bring back all the emotion, the anxiety, the horrible memories when that ‘No’ was ignored,” he said.

While the song hasn’t changed, the meaning may be different to people now, according to Keyes.

“But I think it does have the potential to illicit a different response.”

Madison joins a growing number of cities across the country, including Chicago, Cleveland and San Francisco, with at least one station that had decided to remove the holiday song from their playlist.

“I know the song. I’ve played it forever. But I couldn’t remember the exact lyrics. I wanted to go back. I looked at the lyrics. I didn’t think that this song was written nefariously,” Keyes said.

Keyes is comfortable with his decision to pull the song and isn’t concerned about backlash from listeners.

“Because I didn’t do it for any other reason than to avoid that situation.”

Mid-West Family Broadcasting owns Hank 1550 AM and 97.7 FM. The station will continue to play country Christmas music until Christmas Day.

Here are the complete lyrics from the 1944 version of the now-controversial song:

(I really can’t stay) But, baby, it’s cold outside
(I’ve got to go away) But, baby, it’s cold outside
(This evening has been) Been hoping that you’d drop in
(So very nice) I’ll hold your hands they’re just like ice

(My mother will start to worry) Beautiful, what’s your hurry
(My father will be pacing the floor) Listen to the fireplace roar
(So really I’d better scurry) Beautiful, please don’t hurry
(Well, maybe just half a drink more) Put some records on while I pour

(The neighbors might think) Baby, it’s bad out there
(Say what’s in this drink) No cabs to be had out there
(I wish I knew how) Your eyes are like starlight now
(To break this spell) I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell

(I ought to say no, no, no, sir) Mind if I move in closer
(At least I’m gonna say that I tried) What’s the sense of hurting my pride
(I really can’t stay) Baby, don’t hold out
[Both] Baby, it’s cold outside

(I simply must go) But, baby, it’s cold outside
(The answer is no) But, baby, it’s cold outside
(The welcome has been) How lucky that you dropped in
(So nice and warm) Look out the window at the storm

(My sister will be suspicious) Gosh your lips look delicious
(My brother will be there at the door) Waves upon a tropical shore
(My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious) Gosh your lips are delicious
(But maybe just a cigarette more) Never such a blizzard before

(I got to get home) But, baby, you’d freeze out there
(Say lend me a coat) It’s up to your knees out there
(You’ve really been grand) I thrill when you touch my hand
(But don’t you see) How can you do this thing to me

(There’s bound to be talk tomorrow) Think of my life long sorrow
(At least there will be plenty implied) If you caught pneumonia and died
(I really can’t stay) Get over that hold out

[Both] Baby, it’s cold outside

David Johnson

David Johnson

Reporter, WKOW

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