BEST KNEE-JERK REACTION Minneapolis 2002 - Clear Channel
Imagine? By John Lennon? That Imagine? In the days after September 11, the entertainment industry hit a welcome note of self-reflection, but the higher-ups at radio behemoth Clear Channel, owner of seven Twin Cities stations, went a little overboard. Within a week of the terrorist attacks, reports circulated that the company's management had sent a list of 150 songs that stations were to scratch from their play lists. Along with Lennon's paean to peace, the list included his fellow bandmates' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," "Get Together" (the Youngbloods), and Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." The list did include some hot-button anthems--Metallica's "Seek and Destroy"; anything by Rage Against the Machine. In a spasm of damage control, Clear Channel issued a statement asserting that the list was merely a guideline for programmers to consider. Locally, station managers seemed to take the list with a grain of salt, though perhaps too many ignored the suggestion not to play Neil Diamond's "America."