Rick Astley is a freaking tease.
All this week 103.7 FM, a Clear Channel radio station in St. Louis' metro region, has been playing Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" nonstop in a stunt to drive interest in the launch of the station's new format. And, honestly, it seemed to have worked. We saw St. Louisans commenting all over Facebook and Twitter about the craziness of the Rickroll, and our original report on the topic became one of RFT Music's most-shared stories of the week.
But it was all a lie.
While Astley's 1987 tune seemed to promise jolly fun with dancing and long coats, the new 103.7 FM offers none of that. What the station -- now called "Louie" -- does present to St. Louis is cock rock and a neon "No women allowed, unless you're in a bikini" sign. But we have a feeling that Clear Channel doesn't see a problem with that, so let's take a hard look at Louie and talk about how St. Louis is getting screwed.
Only real schlongs allowed
Women in St. Louis have special vaginas that discourage listening to rock music. That's the only plausible reason we can come up with for the way 103.7 FM ignores women in all forms. Well, not in all forms, but we'll get to that in a minute.
Not only are women apparently too delicate for guitar-driven music, they have nothing to do with music in the first place. In the first on-air Louie promo spot, Metallica, Linkin Park, Nickelback, Ozzy Osbourne and more greeted listeners, but out of the 31 musicians previewed, none were women, leading us to believe that 103.7 FM -- like many of the rock stations St. Louis already has -- doesn't think lady rockers exist. Lita Ford? Nope. Chrissie Hynde? Fuck her. L7? Trash. Women obviously don't create music, and they certainly don't rock the hell out while listening to it.
God, that hurts even to joke about.
Look, sometimes targeting a certain gender demographic makes sense. Crystal Light caters to weight-conscious women seeking hydration, and Bud Light covets dudes who want to party but are afraid of craft beer -- those aren't surprising. But the product 103.7 FM is selling is music, an art form listened to and created by men, women and everybody in between. Gendering music makes as much sense as gendering Bic pens.
But as we get to know Louie more, we don't expect 103.7 FM to play female artists beyond the rare Heart song. This station obviously wants to be the Axe body spray of St. Louis radio -- bursting with superficial testosterone and glorifying the bro way. Need proof? Here's how Louie introduced itself on Twitter. (Note: Twitter tells us that @Louie1037 now has been suspended, which is why you don't see the full embedded tweet below.)
Want more? Check out the station's website, where Louie's tagline, "Man up, St. Louis," is in the masthead, and "Babes" gets its own priority section. When we peeked in on June 19, the front-page story slider featured items such as "Who's Hotter: Miss USA vs. Miss America," "Name That Booty" (guess which celebrity owns the pictured ass) and "Wet N' Wild" (women in bikinis). Plus there was a whole sidebar of the latest T&A news. Obviously, people won't be using louie1037.com as their music-news source. We thought the morning misogynists on 105.7 FM KPNT were bad, but we predict that dudes at 103.7 FM will top those guys and get raging boners while doing it.
Oh, and then there's this little nugget that radio-industry website All Access posted from Stephen Stewart, Clear Channel's regional programming director for St. Louis:
"Louie 103.7 will be a real man's station - for guys who like beer, BBQ and really good rock music."
A "real man's station," huh? OK, so 103.7 FM is not for straight women, gay men, men who don't drink beer, people in various places on the Kinsey scale, children or those who disagree that Nickelback is "really good rock music." Got it.
"We're excited to bring a rock station to St. Louis that we know will really resonate with our listeners."
"Resonate." Right. Thanks, Stephen. We're sure that St. Louis residents can't wait to check out Louie some more -- that is, the ones who like their babes to be seen and not heard.
Check out more of 103.7 FM's crimes against St. Louis on page two.
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