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The Globe and Mail

Halifax radio station's 'Money for Nothing' marathon generates complaints

Mark Knopfler in performance

A radio station in Halifax that defied a ruling against a Dire Straits hit by playing a Money for Nothing marathon said Monday it's heard from some listeners who've threatened to lodge complaints.

An unedited version of the song was played repeatedly on Q104 for an hour Friday in protest of a recent decision by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

The independent watchdog ruled the 25-year-old song was unfit for Canadian radio because its lyrics include the word "faggot" three times. The ruling stemmed from a complaint filed by a listener of a station in St. John's, N.L.

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J.C. Douglas, program director at Q104, said a few listeners have sent e-mails since the marathon saying they intend to file a complaint with the council, while other listeners told him they have already done so.

Others have written merely to say they're unhappy with the station's decision to continue playing the tune, which Douglas said airs every two or three days.

"It's a fairly straight-forward argument that's being made in most of these complaints - just that the word 'faggot' itself is damaging and hurtful and has no place on the airwaves," Douglas said in an interview.

"And we can't help but agree with that from a general standpoint. Our argument is completely contextual."

Douglas maintains the song, which was released in 1985, is written from the perspective of a bigot and needs to be considered as such.

"Every single word of this song comes from (the character's) point of view, so if you're not considering that context, then you're not actually listening to the song."

The Money for Nothing ban applies to every Canadian radio station.

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Ron Cohen, national chairman of the CBSC, said Friday that the council wouldn't take action against any stations airing the unedited version of the song unless another listener complained. He did not immediately return calls Monday for comment.

Douglas said the council did not yet contact him regarding any complaints stemming from the marathon.

He said most of the feedback the station has received has been positive, adding that about a dozen people said they plan to contact the council and ask for a review of its decision.

The council does not have its own internal appeals mechanism. However, according to its website, the public can request that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission review a council decision.

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