It's [artist id="501686"]Britney Spears[/artist], after all, so you knew radio stations would find a way around the not-so-hidden profanity in the chorus to the third single from her album Circus, "If U Seek Amy."
Several weeks ago, MTV News talked to a number of radio programmers across the country who said they weren't sure how they'd handle the song — whose chorus spells out "f--- me" — when it arrived as the album's next single. Since then, as label Jive prepares to roll it out, a few stations have begun playing it, albeit in an edited fashion.
Though Jive did not return calls for comment, Tommy Chuck, program director for Tampa, Florida's WFLZ, told MTV News that his is among the half-dozen stations he's heard of that have started playing the song.
"We wanted to be careful, [because] it's pretty obvious Britney was looking for controversy," he said. But rather than playing the original version, Chuck said his station produced their own edit of the song that replaces the word "seek" with "see," as well as a morning zoo-style edit in which one of their morning hosts, MJ, shouts out his own name every time the word "Amy" comes around.
"I think Jive is creating their own edit, so I don't know if they'll use ours or not," he said. "But it's a no-brainer that we would play it, because the song is a hit and people are calling for it like crazy. It may be the best song on the CD."
Unlike some of the program directors we talked to just after the single was announced, Chuck said he had no problem with Spears trying to stir things up a bit with the tune, but he had to make sure whatever version the station played was clean enough to air. "I think it's probably questionable," he said of the suggestive chorus. "I think it's kind of silly, but especially with all the coverage surrounding it. ... When I first heard it, I thought about it and said, 'Better safe than sorry.' "
As far as he's concerned, the edit doesn't fundamentally change anything about the song. "If someone had not heard the original version, they wouldn't know it had been changed." He said WFLZ was one of the first stations to start playing the song, which DJs are referring to as "If U See Amy" and which is now in light rotation with three to five spins a day.
With "Womanizer" still garnering significant airplay and the title-track second single still moving up the charts, more stations are expected to add "Amy" to their playlists in the coming weeks.