Hit radio station ruffles feathers with new name
At least one advertiser has pulled its ads from HOT89.9 since the radio station dropped the letter 'T' from its name, rebranding itself as HO89.9.
The name change is part of a contest designed to attract attention. The radio station claims the letter ‘T' was stolen. Now, listeners are being asked to help find the missing letter. The winner will get $10,000.
Until then, the radio station will continue going by its new name: HO89.9.
On-air, the audience is told they're listening to the "New HO89.9." The radio station's website has been rebranded and the new name is splashed across billboards. Even employee email addresses have changed.
Words considered offensive
However, not everyone finds the contest amusing, noting the word ‘ho' is a euphemism for prostitute.
"Those words bother me a lot," said parent Monique Allen. "I think that they're used often for humour, but it's not humourous to me."
The Children's Aid Society also doesn't find the name change amusing.
A spokesperson for the CAS told CTV Ottawa the agency pulled its advertising from the airwaves after it was advised of the contest.
The organization, which bought advertising to spread awareness about child abuse and child safety, said it doesn't want to be associated with the radio station's new name. However, the CAS said it will continue to advertise with the radio station when its original name returns.
It's just a ploy
Others aren't bothered by the contest, saying it's just a ploy to attract attention.
"My girls find it a bit silly, but not really offensive. I think everybody just takes it for a gimmick for what it is," said parent Pierre Roach.
Many teens seem to agree.
"I just listen to it for the music. I don't pay attention to contests and stuff," one teenaged listener told CTV Ottawa.
"I think it's just a fun contest," added another.
"It's exactly the same as Santa Claus. He says ‘HO HO HO.' Is that supposed to be offensive too?" asked another.
The radio station argues the contest doesn't have to be view as degrading towards women.
One of the station's morning DJs told CTV Ottawa the radio station has always treated women with respect, and anyone who is offended can simply change the dial.
"If people out there are seeing that, then that's what they're seeing. On the air, we've respected women. We've always treated women with the utmost respect, and so I think when people go there, that's their own decision," said DJ Mauler.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Norman Fetterley