Ahead of World Series, San Francisco radio bans song ‘Royals’

San Francisco radio stations KOIT-FM and KFOG-FM have pledged to remove the signature chart-topping song “Royals” from their airwaves until the end of Major League Baseball’s World Series.

The 2014 Grammy Awards’ song of the year — which turned the 16-year-old New Zealand pop singer Lorde into a global sensation — has drawn the boycott of the San Francisco Bay Area radio stations and their listeners for sharing its name with that of the Kansas City professional baseball team. The Kansas City Royals are set to go head-to-head with San Francisco’s own Giants baseball club Tuesday for the first game of the World Series — a best-of-seven matchup to determine Major League Baseball’s 2014 champion.

KOIT made the decision after receiving numerous requests from listeners for the song to be removed “until the San Francisco Giants win the World Series.”

“Our listeners told us to do it, so we did it!” KOIT Program Director Brian Figula wrote on the station’s site. “As of 4pm today we’ve removed Lorde – Royals from the our playlist until the end of the World Series. Go Giants, beat the Royals!”

KFOG posted their decision to remove the song on Twitter and Facebook. “Why send any positive vibes to Kansas City?” KFOG program director Jim Richards told NBC Bay Area affiliate KNTV. “Why not give the song a rest? No one is going to get hurt over it.”

Kansas station 99.7 The Point, however, hoped to offset the lack of “Royals” on the airwaves by vowing to play “Royals” at the top of every hour from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT Tuesday.

“I respect the work of Mr. Brian Figula, 96.5 KOIT Program Director, and his team of broadcast professionals at our sister stations in San Francisco, but we won’t let their anti-Royals spirit ruin this moment,” Tony Lorino, Program Director of 99.7 The Point, said in a statement. “A few angry San Franciscans who don’t have a song called ‘Giants’ won’t rain on our parade.”

Lorde told VH1 in 2013 that a photo of retired Kansas City Royals player George Brett in National Geographic magazine provided part of the inspiration for the song.

“I had this image from the National Geographic of this dude just signing baseballs,” Lorde told us when we sat down with her recently. “He was a baseball player and his shirt said, ‘Royals.’” Lorde was so taken by the image and the word that she penned the song around that idea. “It was just that word. It’s really cool.”

The Major League Baseball Hall of Famer sent her a signed jersey in March, on which he wrote, “You are Royal to me.”

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