FCC Will Investigate Water-Drinking Contest
January 24, 2007 at 6:01 PM (PT)
FCC Chairman KEVIN MARTIN has directed the Enforcement Bureau to investigate ENTERCOM Top 40 KDND/SACRAMENTO's "Hold Your Wee For A Wii" contest that preceded the death of JENNIFER STRANGE, the SACRAMENTO BEE reports.
"[MARTIN] was troubled by the information presented in the letter and wants the commission to ascertain the facts," said FCC spokeswoman TAMARA LIPPER.
ENTERCOM spokesman CHARLES SIPKINS told the BEE that the station would cooperate with the FCC.
ROGER DREYER, the attorney representing the STRANGE family, released the following statement in response:
If the FCC decides to pull KDND's license, it would send a very clear message to radio executives that this kind of irresponsible programming that degrades, humiliates and endangers citizens just to increase ratings will not be tolerated.
"While we welcome the FCC's decision to investigate JENNIFER's sad and senseless death, we'll be seeking justice for JENNIFER's family through the civil process. As we move forward, we'll leave it to the FCC to conduct its own investigation and take whatever corrective steps it deems appropriate. If the FCC decides to pull KDND's license and discipline its parent company, ENTERCOM, it would be sending a very clear message to radio executives around the nation that this kind of irresponsible programming that degrades, humiliates and endangers citizens just to increase ratings will not be tolerated."
DREYER intends to file the lawsuit at 10:30a PT tomorrow (1/25) and hold a press conference, with STRANGE's mother, at 1:30p to discuss why the case is being filed and the basis for the claim.
Stunt Death Draws Challenge To CBS-Entercom Deal
And the fallout continues over the water-drinking death case, with ROYCE INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING -- which has been embroiled in a long-running dispute at the FCC with ENTERCOM over the sale of KWOD/SACRAMENTO -- filing a supplement to its existing petition to deny the sale of CBS stations in MEMPHIS, CINCINNATI, and ROCHESTER to ENTERCOM, adding the KDND incident as grounds to deny the transaction.
In the new filing, attorney ARTHUR BELENDIUK states that ENTERCOM "is responsible for the tragic death of JENNIFER STRANGE," calling it "a stupid radio stunt... until it went horribly wrong" and noting that the FCC is supposed to consider whether a licensee "operates its facilities to preserve and protect the 'safety of life.'"
"ENTERCOM has one of the worst records of any broadcaster in history," the filing states. "It is now responsible for the death of JENNIFER STRANGE, whose only failing was that she wanted to win a NINTENDO Wii for her three children. Amazingly, ENTERCOM, despite its consistently bad behavior, has the audacity to ask the FCC to allow it to acquire additional radio stations."
Meanwhile, TALK RADIO NETWORK's syndicated MANCOW MULLER is embarking on his own campaign against the KDND incident, creating the "Foundation For Responsible Radio" in response to what he calls a "voyeuristic FM radio stunt." While making the rounds of TV talk shows last week, MULLER said, "Small markets feel the need to do this to get ratings, and it is wrong.... Voyeuristic radio has died or gone to satellite... AMERICA doesn’t want this stuff.
"I want to set up a fund for this woman, I want to collect money for this woman’s family, three kids left behind," added MULLER. On his show WEDNESDAY morning, he said that "our industry and its stupidity did this."