CRTC wants CBSC Dire Straits ruling reviewed


Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Canada’s broadcast regulator, has asked the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council to review its ban of the 80’s Classic Rock song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits.

On 1/13, the CBSC deemed it offensive, stemming from a listener’s complaint last year calling the lyrics — which contain the verse “That little f—-t’s got his own jet airplane. That little f—-t’s a millionaire” — offensive to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Said the Council: “The societal values at issue a quarter-century later have shifted and the broadcast of the song in 2010 must reflect those values, rather than those of 1985.”

The CRTC specifically asked the CBSC to review its decision while considering “the context of the particular wording in the song’s theme and intended message.” The CRTC also wants other factors considered, including the age and origin of the song and the performance date, the prominence of the contested word and the use of the word over time, and the length of time and frequency that the song has been played on the radio.

The CBSC’s decision to review the song, a radio staple since it was released in 1985, reportedly came after a single complaint from a woman in Newfoundland.

The CRTC says it has received more than 250 letters from Canadians on the issue, most of them questioning why the song would be banned. Artists were among those who questioned the song’s ban, including well-known gay Canadians such as Scott Thompson from comedy troupe Kids in the Hall.

The CBSC is a self-regulator set up in 1990 by Canada’s private radio and television broadcasters. CBSC decisions are rarely defied, said The Toronto Sun.

RBR-TVBR observation: CBSC will have to look at how the word was used. Its context (and in the video) suggests its a character line spoken as slang by an ignorant person (in this case an overworked appliance installer) who’s simply jealous and angry about a Rock star’s “easy life.” Nowhere in the song or video does it confirm the Rock star was actually gay.