Radio stations often encourage listeners to be stupid for ratings stunts. Somehow, they find listeners to do them...and get participants to sign waivers legally protecting station's ass(ets). But if something goes really wrong, is it worth doing the stupid promotion in the first place?
"Today's Hit Music" station 107.9 The End (KDND) in Sacramento just had a promotion that went to worst possible result: death.
The End's morning show wanted their listeners to "hold their wee" as long as possible while drinking bottles of water during a week-long promotion in order to win a new Wii. Cute premise and twisting of words...but one participant apparently died while competing due to a condition called "water intoxication". Of course, it is reported there is "at this point no clear indictation that there is a link" between the contest and the death. Even so, The End is now associated with it...and it gets broadcast around the world. Ooops!
For more on the story, click here.
(Jan. 16 update at 7pm): The Sacramento Bee reports it's "the end" to The End's Morning Rave show plus the station management responsible for approving the stunt, as the investigation continues.
(Jan 22 update at 6pm): This story only gets bigger. Lawsuits are filed and now seek to pursue revoking the FCC license of the "water death radio station".
Granted, this is a nation that will do just about anything to win a free Nintendo Wii.
By the way, this week's #3 top song at The End? The Fray's "How To Save A Life".
And how can you?
One suggestion might be: Don't participate in that kind of contest.
Write it down in your promotion book: Getting listeners to hold onto your wee (pee) in order to win a Wii is a bad idea (unless medically supervised).
The news report below:
Now, here's a better idea for a promotion radio stations still don't do enough despite 2006's explosion of user-generated content.
Get your listeners to make their own fan-created music videos of your format's hottest songs and submit them to YouTube, Break.com, Fark, the band's MySpace page, etc....and, of course, your own station's site.
For example, the new Barenaked Ladies song "Wind Me Up".
Terry McBride of Nettwerk Records loves this kind of stuff and wants you to do more of it. If The End had done this promotion instead...
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Saturday, January 13, 2007,
- At 1:05 AM, Moose said...
The contest had qualifiers for a week I believe... you didn't have to hold your wee for a week.
They did it Friday morning.. drink 1/2 pint bottle of water every 15 minutes, then moved up to larger bottles. Yeah, still a stupid contest...but just wanted to clarify the situation.