Canada: Rock star blacklisted by radio station

14 September 2013

In Canada, the radio station Rock 97.9 in Fort McMurray will no longer play Canadian rock star Neil Young’s music after he made remarks about the oil-rich Alberta area while talking about the controversial Keystone X-L Pipeline project at a conference in Washington, USA.


“The Indians up there and the native peoples are dying. The fuels all over – the fumes everywhere – you can smell it when you get to town. People are sick. People are dying of cancer because of this,” the 67-year-old rock star was quoted as having stated during a National Farmers Union conference.

The Canadian Press wrote on 12 September 2013:

“Neil Young can keep on talking in the free world, but Fort McMurray won’t be listening. A local rock radio station stopped playing the Canuck singer’s music for a day after he compared the northern Alberta oilsands city to Hiroshima after the atomic bomb.

On-air personality Chris Byrne at Rock 97.9 then asked his listeners if the ban should be extended indefinitely.

Neil supporters were in the majority, but when station staff looked at their email addresses, most came from out of town.

So with local opinion firmly against him, Young has been pulled from the station’s playlist. No more Heart of Gold in the heart of the oilsands.

‘We’re going to continue with our ban,’ said Byrne, who said he used to play two or three Young tunes a day.”

The Keystone XL pipeline is being promoted in Washington by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a means to get bitumen from the Alberta oilsands to refineries on the Gulf Coast. U.S. President Barack Obama has yet to approve the project, which faces opposition from environmentalists and communities along the pipeline route.

CBC News / The Canadian Press – 12 September 2013:
Fort McMurray tunes out Neil Young after rocker blasts oilsands
Canadian rock icon compares oilsands region to Hiroshima

CBC News and – 10 September 2013:
Neil Young calls Fort McMurray oilsands ‘a wasteland’

San Jose Mercury News – 13 September 2013:
Hicks: Neil Young banned from Canadian radio station
By Tony Hicks

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