Risqué billboard to remain in Fargo
FARGO, N.D. - The young woman who some say is dressed too risqu? for a billboard will stay in her underwear hanging above Fargo streets until an advertising contract ends late this month, a Rock 102 station official said Tuesday.
FARGO, N.D. - The young woman who some say is dressed too risqué for a billboard will stay in her underwear hanging above Fargo streets until an advertising contract ends late this month, a Rock 102 station official said Tuesday.
The decision comes despite efforts by the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center to get advertisers with KRWK/Rock 102 to call for the billboards' removal, saying they are harmful to women.
The center sent out letters to more than a dozen businesses saying the billboards send "a message that women are valued only for their ability to gratify the desires, fantasies and needs of men," according to the letter.
The more than a dozen billboards in question feature a woman wearing underwear and a tankini next to a caption reading, "Now Turn Us On!"
The letters say the billboard is a prime example of viewing women as a body and not a person and could lead to increased violence against women, citing studies that show links between sexualized images and violence.
John Austin, operations manager at Radio Fargo-Moorhead Inc., said station management considered the center's arguments and respects their opinions, but they will not take down the billboards, in part because the campaign is nearly over.
"We're so close to the end anyway," he said. The campaign is slated to finish in late August.
The station's new marketing campaign will incorporate the current billboards as well as listeners, but Austin said he can "practically guarantee" it will not offend anyone. The current campaign was designed to get attention, not to offend people, Austin said.
"It's unfortunate that it's created some negative feelings from some people because we certainly respect everyone's opinion," he added.
Austin said Radio Fargo-Moorhead Inc., which also owns five other area radio stations, was aware the billboards had upset some people, but was surprised the center went directly to advertisers before contacting station management.
The crisis center sent out the same letter to advertisers of Rock 102, local media outlets and the station at the same time in an effort to get more people to show support against violence against women, said Angela Bachman, the center's community outreach coordinator.
"It is a real issue here in our community," Bachman said, adding the center has received supportive calls about their efforts.
Austin said the station has not had any complaints from advertisers, but has received calls from other businesses interested in advertising.
"The smart advertisers realize that this station is being talked about and listened to," he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541