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KOIT Yields To Listeners Demands; Returns 'Baby It's Cold Outside' To Playlist

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- After polling thousands of Bay Area radio listeners, San Francisco's KOIT radio station announced Monday it was returning the controversial 'Baby It's Cold Outside' holiday song to its daily playlist.

Following a national outcry against the song, KOIT Program Director Brian Figula opted last week to place the song on hold while seeking further listener feedback.

"After hearing from thousands of Bay Area listeners via polling, phone calls, emails and social media, KOIT has concluded that the vast majority consider the song to be a valuable part of their holiday tradition, and they still want to hear it on the radio," Figula said in a statement on Monday.

Figula said when it came to the vote, it wasn't even close.

"KOIT's listeners have spoken, and the overwhelming message is they do want to hear 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' on our station, as they have throughout the years," he said. "More than seven out of every ten listeners who responded said although some lyrics of the song may reflect a different era and a different sensibility than today, still they love the tradition and history of the song, and want to hear it as part of their holiday season."

Penned by "Guys and Dolls" writer Frank Loesser in 1944, the Christmas song has been perceived by some as unworthy for the most wonderful time of the year -- particularly in the age of #MeToo.

The song's lyrics describe a woman trying extricate herself from a date and saying "no, no, no," while a man insists that she stays as he moves in closer, pours her more alcohol, and warns about he weather outside. Critics of the song say the lyrics promote date rape.

When Figula announced his original decision last week, the station received many angry emails and social media posts from people upset with the decision, accusing the station of political correctness.

"They're upset!" said KOIT radio DJ Freska Griarte who has heard from lots of listeners from phone calls and social media posts.

"They're like, 'why are you guys doing this? What is going on? It's just a song.  While for some people, it means something more,"  Griarte explained.

Sarah Burns of Brisbane, Australia said she could understand why some folks felt the song advocated date rape.

"Because he's in a position of power and he's keeping her indoors," Burns said. "It can be a bit sketchy nowadays."

"I could definitely see where it's a little uncomfortable when you think about the lyrics being said," said Genevieve Ellison of San Francisco. "But then so are most of the songs on the radio today, right?"

Meanwhile, radio stations in Cleveland and Denver have banned the song for the holiday season.

In Canada, CBC Radio announced Tuesday it would join at least two other broadcasters in the country -- Rogers Media and Bell Media -- in keeping the song off their holiday playlists.

CBC spokeswoman Nicola Makoway said the broadcaster planned to remove the song at midnight on Tuesday with "no plans to play it going forward."

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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