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Smooth FM bans Michael Jackson songs amid fresh abuse allegations

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Smooth FM bans Michael Jackson songs amid fresh abuse allegations

"https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/mar/07/smooth-fm-bans-michael-jackson-songs-amid-fresh-abuse-allegations"

Australian station joins three in Canada and two in New Zealand in boycott after Neverland documentary airs accusations

An Australian radio network has pulled Michael Jackson’s music from its airwaves amid fresh allegations that the late singer sexually abused children.

The Nova Entertainment Company, which counts easy-listening station Smooth FM among its stable, became the first Australian company to take action after the accusations were aired in a British-made documentary, Leaving Neverland, on Sunday.

It joins at least three radio stations in Canada, one in the Netherlands, as well as New Zealand’s public broadcaster RNZ and its major commercial rivals Mediaworks and NZME.

“The decisions we make about the music we play on any of our stations are dependent on the relevance to the audience and the current context,” said Paul Jackson, NOVA Entertainment’s group programme director.

“In light of what is happening at the moment, smoothfm is not currently playing any Michael Jackson songs.”

The company also owns the Nova stations across the country but they only play contemporary music, not past hits.

Two major Australian broadcasters – Australian Radio Network (KIIS FM, WSFM and Gold FM) and Southern Cross Austereo (Hit and Triple M) – said they had not altered their playlists.

“We take allegations of this nature very seriously,” a Southern Cross Austereo spokeswoman said. “However, these remain allegations and therefore we currently intend to continue to play his music on occasion.”

In Perth, a Christian radio station also confirmed it had stopped playing Jackson’s music.

The 98five SunshineFM chief executive, Bevan Jones, said they “don’t play much Michael Jackson” but had cut the singer from its playlist in response to feedback from listeners.

“Generally our policy is to judge the song not the artist, but we do react to listener complaints,” Jones told the West Australian.

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