Clear Channel banned playlist a hoax

Clear Channel Communications, Inc. responding to numerous stories, emails and calls concerning an alleged "list of banned songs" on its 1170 U.S. radio stations insists there is no such list. The list of banned songs was reported by even major newspapers such as the New York Times following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The Times and other news outlets reported that Clear Channel had compiled a list of 150 songs and asked its stations not to play them in the wake of the attacks. These songs included "Ticket to Ride" by the Beatles, "On Broadway" by the Drifters and "Bennie and the Jets" by Elton John. Even odder, some songs on the list are patriotic, like Neil Diamond's "America." Others speak of universal optimism, like Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World," and others are emotional but hopeful songs that could help people grieve, like "Imagine" by John Lennon, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel, "Peace Train" by Cat Stevens and "A World Without Love" by Peter and Gordon.

In a statement Clear Channel says it is up to "every radio station program director and general manager to understand their market, listen to their listeners and guide their station's music selections according to local sensitivities. Each program director and general manager must take the pulse of his or her market to determine if play lists should be altered, and if so, for how long."

'In the wake of this terrible tragedy, the nation's business community is responding with a degree of hypersensitivity," explained Mark P. Mays, president and chief operating officer of Clear Channel. "Even some movie companies have altered some of their release schedules in light of the mood in America today. Clear Channel strongly believes in the First Amendment and freedom of speech. We value and support the artist community. And we support our radio station programming staff and management team in their responsibility to respond to their local markets.'"

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