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Newtown shootings inspire radio stations to pull Foster the People’s ‘Pumped Up Kicks,’ Ke$ha’s ‘Die Young’


In the wake of the Newtown, CT. shootings, three Atlanta stations have pulled Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” from rotation.

The song is written from the perspective of a troubled, isolated teen with homicidal thoughts. The lyrics warn people to “outrun my gun” and “you better run, better run, faster than my bullet.”

Star 94 and Q100 both dropped the song immediately after the shooting. B98.5 last spun it once in the wee hours early Tuesday morning but has also taken the song off its playlist and it has not been heard in the daytime for a week.

The deceptively cheerful song was a huge hit in 2011, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Nationally, airplay of the song dropped by more than half after very steady airplay the previous few weeks.

Ke$ha’s No. 1 top 40 hit with the untimely title “Die Young” also saw sizable airplay drops after the shooting and has fallen to No. 3. As expected, drop offs were especially sharp in New York and New England. Locally, both Wild and Q100 stopped playing the song over the weekend but are now spinning it at a lower rate than it did last week. Power 96.1 continues to give “Die Young” high rotation airplay, 18 to 20 times a day.

Unlike “Pumped Up Kicks,” the song has nothing to do with actual murder. It’s simply a celebratory phrase of partying like you’re going to “die young.”

After 9/11, Clear Channel radio sent a list of 150 recommended songs not to play immediately after the disaster, including Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me” and Paul McCartney and Wings‘ “Live and Let Die.”

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8 comments Add your comment


December 20th, 2012
2:38 pm

Imo, I don’t like Ke$ha but the song Die Young has NOTHING to do with literally dieing young. So I think it’s silly to have taken it off the air. Now Pumped Up Kicks…yeah there’s no defending that one lol

Just Me

December 20th, 2012
6:00 pm

Kev, ok, the article mentioned that KeSha’s song has NOTHING to do with dying young. However, we just had a bunch of little children ACTUALLY die young. No one said there was anything inappropriate about the song, or title. Its just that the phrase hits a little too close to home right now. Not to mention, advertising pays the bills at radio stations. You have anything idea what would happen if they played that song right before or after a McDonalds’ ad? Someone would be catching he11 for that.

Scott Baker

December 20th, 2012
11:46 pm

Let’s not forget to look at the bigger issue in this story: After money and favors have exchanged hands for at least three FCC commissioners, the laws regulating the ownership of mega media monopolies have been loosened to such a degree, the decisions of a handful of people who think they “know what’s best for us” have the power to censor music, movies, books, and ideas however they want. So, all those gun nuts out there that are so afraid of “Big Government” have been PUNKED by Big Business. Your choices of what to watch, listen to, and read are increasingly controlled by a smaller and smaller number of greedy, power-hungry people whose agendas are THEIR BUSINESS and none of YOURS.
After 9/11, songs about peace and love, including “Imagine” by John Lennon, were banned from Clear Channel’s radio stations around the world. They decided that that was “not the time to be thinking about peace”.
Where has America gone?
Does that star spangled banner yet waive over the land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE?

Fight the corporate control of media, government, and our private lives.

Boycott all Clear Channel stations and all radio and TV stations that censor ideas.


December 20th, 2012
11:59 pm

Why should you defend it in the first place, Kev? It’s art. Screw this corporate censorship.


December 21st, 2012
8:36 am

Jesus Christ, I feel for the families affected by this tragedy, but we can’t be so dang sensitive about everything. We have to realize the individual suffered from mental illness, and needed help.

let's be real

December 21st, 2012
8:52 am

Why is it that in the wake of a tragedy, radio wants to yank specific songs? Seems to me these songs were inappropriate from the beginning. Record companies release them for airplay and sales. I agree with VC. Stop being overly sensitive!!!!!

Fetus Breath

December 21st, 2012
9:35 am


December 26th, 2012
5:57 pm

Are we getting female hormone treatments in our food or what? Everyone gets PC and weepy over everything these days. As far as radio, it all sucks, commercial, college, public, etc etc….