In addition to the words that can get you fined by the FCC, another is so hated by basketball fans in Cleveland that Clear Channel’s WAKS-FM is loath to air it. But what do you do when the hated person’s name is a lyric in a hit song?
As first reported by the Cleveland Cavaliers fan site Waiting For Next Year (WFNY), WAKS “96.5 Kiss FM” has edited the name of former team member LeBron James (now playing for Miami) from the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys hit song “Empire State of Mind.” The song could hardly be ignored by a hip-hop station, since it’s sold more than three million copies. But lately the reference to LeBron has been digitally reversed.
Seven-midnight DJ “Java” (Joel Murphy) told the fan site that he had the idea to digitally obscure the name, much as the station does with the seven words that you can’t say on radio, made famous by George Carlin, when they show up in song lyrics.
“The reaction has been immediate. Listeners thought it was a brilliant idea,” Java told WFNY. Local distain for LeBron James hit a fever pitch early this month when his new team played the Cavaliers in Cleveland for the first time. That was made worse by James being the game’s high-scorer as the Miami Heat beat the Cavaliers. (A rematch this week in Miami was also won by the Heat.)
While the hated name is forbidden on-air, WAKS is celebrating the holiday season with a contest giving away Cavaliers tickets, merchandise and a grand prize that includes sitting on the team’s bench for warm-ups prior to a January game against the Toronto Raptors.