Why ''pants'' is being bleeped on radio -- The word from an Avril Lavigne song, in addition to other choice language, is being dropped from many songs on the radio

By Whitney Pastorek
Updated July 23, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Sure, profanity is bad, kids — but someone has to draw the line on self-censorship. No longer content to wait for the FCC to issue its pricey indecency fines, some programmers are making preemptive cuts to potentially objectionable song lyrics. And a few of the changes are killing our summer-music buzz.

In the hip-hop world, where raunch is the name of the game, Jay-Z has ”99 problems, but a [blank] ain’t one” (or so it goes on stations like Las Vegas’ KLUC). It’s not the nicest way to describe an ex, but it’s the chorus, so sans the word ”bitch,” why play it at all?

More puzzling, MTV trimmed ”pants” — but not ”ass” — from Avril Lavigne’s ”Don’t Tell Me” (”…will get you in my pants/I’ll have to kick your ass”). ”There’s a very fine line between ‘pants’ and ‘ass”’ is all an MTV spokesman will say.

That fine line disappears at NYC’s Hot 97, where ass has been dropped from Ludacris’ ”Blow It Out.” Says VP of programming Tracy Cloherty: ”Things that we would have thought nothing of saying before, we now have to question whether it’s acceptable.” So much for a rerelease of ”The Bitch Is Back.”