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The John Hour
refers to the public naming of "johns" (male customers of female prostitutes).
In October 1979, New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...
mayor Ed Koch
Edward Irving "Ed" Koch is an American lawyer, politician, and political commentator. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1969 to 1977 and three terms as mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989...
WNYC is a set of call letters shared by a pair of co-owned, non-profit, public radio stations located in New York City.WNYC broadcasts on the AM band at 820 kHz, and WNYC-FM is at 93.9 MHz. Both stations are members of National Public Radio and carry distinct, but similar news/talk programs...
, the city's public radio station, to read the names of convicted "johns". Koch intended to use this public shaming, swiftly dubbed "The John Hour", as a tool to reduce prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...
An uproar ensued. On October 26, the New York Times
"This week's premiere of Mayor Koch's 'John Hour,' which broadcast the names of nine convicted customers of prostitutes, was a shabby show, in no way redeemed by its brevity. It took only about a minute for city-employed announcers to read the names over city-owned radio and television stations. But it was a mighty misuse of government power."
After one broadcast, "The John Hour" was discontinued.
In March 2008, New York governor Eliot Spitzer
Eliot Laurence Spitzer is an American lawyer, former Democratic Party politician, and political commentator. He was the co-host of In the Arena, a talk-show and punditry forum broadcast on CNN until CNN cancelled his show in July of 2011...
was exposed as a customer of a high-priced prostitution ring. In the wake of this scandal, Koch advocated reinstating "The John Hour".