Fargo radio station billboard has created controversy elsewhere
FARGO, N.D. - This isn't the first time controversy has popped up surrounding a young woman in her underwear promoting a radio station. The same KRWK/Rock 102 advertisement in Fargo that has recently come under fire by some who say the billboards...
FARGO, N.D. - This isn't the first time controversy has popped up surrounding a young woman in her underwear promoting a radio station.
The same KRWK/Rock 102 advertisement in Fargo that has recently come under fire by some who say the billboards objectify women and are too risqué also appeared in 2003 in St. Cloud, Minn., and Regina, Saskatchewan, where they received similar criticism.
The billboard depicts a woman facing away, dressed in a tankini and underwear and holding a guitar next to the words "NOW TURN US ON!"
Opponents to the same advertisement for KLZZ-FM 103.7 "The Loon," in St. Cloud climbed onto the billboard at night and covered the woman from her waist down with a sheet, according to Baxter, the station's program director.
But instead of covering up the issue, "it just gave us more publicity," said the former Fargo deejay, who declined to give his full name.
After coming under fire for using the same billboard to advertise for CFWF-FM 104.9 "The Wolf," radio officials placed the word "censored" in large letters over the woman's buttocks to give the Regina ad a new spin, according to Michael Olstrom.
"It was basically to create more talk," said Olstrom, station's group manager for Harvard Broadcasting, which owns CFWF.
It worked, he added.
Rock 102 officials have no plans to take down the billboards before the advertising campaign finishes near the end of August, said John Austin, operations manager for Radio Fargo-Moorhead.
Individuals and a community committee on violence prevention against women have called for advertisers with the station, which is among six owned by Radio Fargo-Moorhead, to ask for the billboards' removal.
Austin said he was aware the ad had received some controversy in St. Cloud, Minn., but said each market is different and responses to an ad cannot be predicted. The decision to use the billboard was made to create awareness about the station and not to offend anyone, he said.
Olstrom said he would consider using the billboard again despite the controversy it caused four years ago, although he would be more likely to use it in a different market or region.
Baxter said he would welcome the idea of using the billboard or something similar again, adding his station has been No. 1 among men since it went up in 2003.
It is too soon to say whether more people have started listening to Rock 102 since the advertisements began in early July, Austin said, adding the campaign has "certainly succeeded beyond our wildest dreams."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541