In 2004, the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy (GRIID) published a study titled “Hyper-Sexual Content on Local Radio” that looked at sexual content on local radio stations with a particular focus on the websites of local radio stations. In light of Media Mouse’s examination WGRD DJ David Fox last year–who was recently fired–and that station’s prior promotion of contests at Tini Bikini’s, it is appropriate to look at the findings of the 2004 study by GRIID and see if improvements have made.
GRIID’s “Hyper-Sexual Content on Local Radio” study looked primarily at how the websites of many area radio stations make extensive use of hyper-sexual content to encourage people to visit the site. At the time the study was written, the authors indicated that they hoped that hearings on indecency in broadcasting and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforcement measures as well as radio licensing renewals would bring attention to the issue and change the content, although after reviewing the sites there has been little change since 2004. The stations still continue to promote hyper-sexual content that in turn encourages a patriarchal and misogynistic view of women that sees them primarily as objects existing solely for the fulfillment of male fantasy. With the exception of WGRD, the same stations identified in the 2004 study–WKLQ, WSNX, and WBFX–continue to feature objectifying portrayals of women and so-called “soft porn” images. Moreover, these images often have little to do with any of the music beyond appealing to a coveted young male demographic. This is especially clear with WOOD Radio’s “Beckett’s Babes” feature as the daily photos of women in bikinis has little to do with the stations predominately conservative talk format, which is similar to featuring of “Music Video Babes” on stations that do not even play the artists featured in the videos.
The websites of the radio stations reviewed tend to be heavily promoted although from our causal listening the hyper-sexual content on the pages tends not to be heavily promoted as a reason to visit the site. However, once one visits the site, such content is aggressively promoted and given prominent positioning on the websites. In addition, the content is often a component of a larger process of seeing women through a patriarchal or misogynistic lens, with the stations routinely holding events with women from Hooters to hosting wet t-shirt contests at area bars.
104.5 WSNX FM
The Clear Channel owned WSNX and its website at http://www.wsnx.com feature some of the most misogynistic content on local radio. A recent screen grab shows the way in which the site promotes hypersexual content on its front page, advertising pictures of Britney Spears’ nipple:
This type of content is promoted throughout the site. The Puddin’s Playhouse section contains a variety of misogynistic content including a video section billed as containing “sex tapes to the latest YouTube viral infection.” Among the videos featured were two different DJs receiving lap dances and actress Jessica Biel in her underwear:
Like the majority of the websites, WSNX has a “Babe of the Day” feature. The section features a photograph of a woman in a bikini each day, syndicated from Start Magazine, a publication that advertises itself with the slogan “We Don’t Even HAVE Articles:”
However, some of the most objectifying content comes from the “Freakshow,” a nightly program hosted by two DJs that go by “Big Mac” and “Hooch.” The two along with WSNX sponsor Monday night wet t-shirt and wet boxer contests at an area club and photos from those events are prominently displayed on their page. The sub-section also prominently features women from area clubs:
In addition, “the Freakshow” runs a contest for the hottest “MILF,” a popular term that refers to “Mom I’d Like to Freak.” The contest features area mothers that submit their photos and then have them judged by the visitors to the website:
The photo section for the “eob Show” features similar content to the “Freak Show” pictures, although with a focus more on celebrities. Among the photo albums available were “Another Britney nip slip,” “Christina’s Giant Boobs,” “Brintey’s New Nip Slip,” “Britney Peeing Herself,” “Hot Hollywood in a Bikini this weekend,” “Britney Wears a See Through Shirt,” and “Avril Topless:”
The site also has a feature called “Are you WSNXY?” that allows viewers to rate the “sexiness” of listeners who have submitted their pictures to the station:
While the site contains a “Hunk of the Day” section and runs syndicated photos of male models, the majority of the sexual content portrays women.
107.3 KLQ FM
The Citadel Broadcasting 107.3 KLQ website at http://www.wklq.com prominently features objectifying portrayals of women. The “Rock Girls” link is the second link on the site and is featured with a large banner on the homepage. That banner is an example of the “dismemberment” of women, with the woman in the image being reduced to nothing more than a body part:
The “Rock Girls” feature contains pictures of women represented in an objectifying manner with photos provided by an entity called “ForPlayTV.com.” This is similar to what we found on the websites of other area stations:
When we reviewed the rest of the site, we also found that the DJ known as Grey was hosting a “Bike Night” at Hooters restaurant and had a video of a woman dancing in a highly suggestive manner:
101.3 FM THE FOX
Clear Channel’s 101.3 The Fox website at http://www.101thefoxrocks.com has a prominently linked “Babes” section that contains three features, “Wet on the Net,” “Babe of the Day,” and “Music Video Babes.” The “Wet on the Net” feature is a series of videos described by as “a daily dose of sexy women gettin’ wet and playful at the pool.” The videos consist of short daily features with the models who are asked questioned about their favorite places to have sex, favorite sex positions, and other similar questions. The images in the “Babe of the Day” section come from two sources, Stare Magazine and Covermodels.com. Stare Magazine describes itself as a “bikini magazine” and uses the slogan “we don’t even HAVE articles” to promote its content. Cover Models is a company that claims to feature “the world’s top swimsuit, fitness, lingerie, and glamour models.” Finally, the “Music Video Babes” section contains links to music videos from predominately female artists, with the only exception being three videos by Enrique Iggl, Diddy, and Aerosmith, all of which feature women in limiting roles. It is also worth noting that with the exception of Aerosmith, The Fox does not play the music feature in the “Music Video Babes” section. Unlike Clear Channel station I96, this Clear Channel station does not syndicate the male model content:
The site also features a “Celeb Babe Photos” section in which the focus is on displaying images of female celebrities:
97.9 FM WGRD
The Regent Broadcasting station WGRD’s website at http://www.wgrd.com has undergone a substantial change since the 2004 study and objectifying portrayals of women are almost completely absent. The only objectifying images were of “Team GRD” at Extreme Car Audio with the “Hooters Girls:”
This comes as somewhat a surprise given the station’s previous reliance on this type of content, particularly with programming by former DJ David Fox.
96.1 MAX FM
The Clear Channel owned 96.1 MAX FM website at http://www.i96.net has a prominently displayed “Babes / Hunks” link. The “Babe of the Day” link contains three features, “Wet on the Net,” “Babe of the Day,” and “Music Video Babes.”
The “Wet on the Net” feature is a series of videos described by as “a daily dose of sexy women getting’ wet and playful at the pool.” The videos consist of short daily features with the models who asked questioned about their favorite place to have sex, favorite sex positions, and similar questions. The images in the “Babe of the Day” section come from two sources, Stare Magazine and Covermodels.com. Stare Magazine describes itself as a “bikini magazine” and uses the slogan “we don’t even HAVE articles” to promote its content. Cover Models is a company that claims to feature “the world’s top swimsuit, fitness, lingerie, and glamour models.” Finally, the “Music Video Babes” section contains links to music videos from predominately female artists, with the only exception being three videos by Enrique Iggl, Diddy, and Aerosmith, all of which feature women in limiting roles.
The website also features a prominently displayed “Celeb Pics” photo gallery on the homepage, but it tends to be evenly split between men and women and essentially contains gossip rather than objectifying pictures of female celebrities.
In addition, the site contains a “Hunk of the Day” feature with models from Allamericanguys.com. However, this section is considerably smaller than the “Babe of the Day” feature.
1300 AM WOOD Radio
Interestingly, the Clear Channel operated WOOD 1300 FM radio station, which has a line-up of almost exclusively conservative talk radio, hosts content objectifying women. This content, objectionable in its own right, is puzzling given the positions of moral authority frequently claimed by the right wing talk show hosts featured on the station. Like many Clear Channel stations, WOOD Radio features syndicated content. A “Beckett’s Babe Gallery” page contains the now familiar “Wet on the Net,” “Babe of the Day,” and “Music Video Babes” section. The station of course plays no music, so it is clear that the “Music Video Babes” portion of the site exists only to attract male viewers and has absolutely no relationship to the format of the station.