DENVER — The song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” may be coming back in from the cold.
At least two radio stations — KOSI-FM in Denver and KOIT-FM in San Francisco — have returned the 1944 winter classic to their playlists after freezing out the song criticized as of step with the #MeToo era.
KOIT program director Jim Figula announced Monday that about 70 percent of listeners voted to keep the tune on the air.
“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,” Mr. Figula said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
The station conducted an online poll after dropping the song from its holiday rotation in response to listener complaints and high-profile decisions by stations in Cleveland and Canada to stop playing the tune written by composer Frank Loesser.
In Denver, the vote was even more outsize: 95 percent of those who responded wanted KOSI to keep playing the popular seasonal ditty.
“We value the opinion of all our listeners and appreciate the feedback we received,” said KOSI program director Jim Lawson in a statement on Fox31. “Respondents voted 95 percent in favor of us keeping the song as part of KOSI 101.1’s tradition of playing all of your holiday favorites. While we are sensitive to those who may be upset by some of the lyrics, the majority of our listeners have expressed their interpretation of the song to be non-offensive.”
Radio station WDOK-FM in Cleveland touched off the hubbub last month by announcing that it had yanked the seasonal favorite viewed by some as more predatory — the Urban Dictionary at one point called it the “Christmas date rape song” — than flirtatious.
The lyrics, a back-and-forth between a man and a woman, include, “I really can’t stay,” to which he responds, “But baby it’s cold outside.” She also says, “Say, what’s in this drink?”
“People might say, ‘Oh, enough with that #MeToo,’ but if you really put that aside and listen to the lyrics, it’s not something I would want my daughter to be in that kind of situation,” WDOK deejay Desiray told Fox8 in Cleveland. “The tune might be catchy, but let’s maybe not promote that sort of an idea.”
In a statement, WDOK’s Glenn Anderson said the decision to drop the song came in response to listener complaints, adding, “I didn’t understand why the lyrics were so bad … Until I read them,” adding that they seem “manipulative and wrong.”
A spokesman for WDOK on Monday told The Washington Times that the station had not changed its decision, despite a backlash from listeners who have plastered the station’s Facebook page with calls for the song’s return.
“Can you play baby it’s cold outside for me?! I’m going to listen to it while watching [Rudolph] the red nosed reindeer and eating a J shaped candy cane,” said Joe Miller on Facebook.
At least three Canadian radio networks — CBC Music, Rogers Media and Bell Media — have also said they will skip the song, which won an Oscar after being featured in the 1949 film “Neptune’s Daughter.”
“Song lyrics are always open to interpretation, and we fully acknowledge there are two camps to this issue,” said CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson in a statement. “While we consider both points of view, and in light of the times we are living in, we have chosen to remove the song, for the time being, from two of our holiday music streams.”
Meanwhile, fans of the song have accused critics of being snowflakes.
“She flirtatiously threatens to leave, while accepting excuses to stay,” said CBC columnist Jessica Goddard. “How this is an example of #MeToo, I can’t quite connect.”
Deana Martin, daughter of singer Dean Martin, told Fox News she would continue to perform the song, calling it “cute, flirtatious and romantic,” while the songwriter’s daughter Susan Loesser said the lyrics need to be viewed “in the context of the time. It was written in 1944.”
As Ms. Loesser told NBC, “Bill Cosby ruined it for everyone.”