This one dates back nearly a decade and involves a contest KDND Sacramento held that lead to the death of one of its listeners. The hearing, regarding the license renewal of KDND Sacramento, stems from the 2007 contest called “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” in which the contestant who was able to drink water at regular intervals for the longest time without urinating or vomiting won a Nintendo Wii. Contestant Jennifer Strange died after the contest and it was determined she died of water intoxication. The family later won a wrongful death suit against Entercom and a jury awarded the family $16.5 million. The 36 page ‘Commission Designation Order For Hearing’ calls into question whether the Entercom station is serving the public interest. Here’s an excerpt from the FCC ruling…
“Jennifer Lea Strange and Lucy Davidson were the only contestants left when KDND offered the two remaining contestants tickets to a Justin Timberlake concert as a second prize, if one would withdraw, making the other the Contest winner. Both remaining contestants initially refused the offer. Jennifer Strange continued to drink water, she complained of a headache and lightheadedness, and exhibited disorientation, all of which could have been signs of illness from drinking too much water. When Entercom staff again offered her the concert tickets if she would withdraw from the Contest, facing yet another 16.9 ounce bottle of water, Ms. Strange accepted the offer. After Ms. Strange accepted the tickets, the Show hosts brought Ms. Strange and Lucy Davidson, the Contest winner, to the broadcast booth, not yet allowing them to use the restroom. Shortly thereafter, and despite being unsteady on her feet, Ms. Strange claimed her second-place prize, left the station, and drove herself home. Later that day, she slipped into a coma and died. Autopsy results indicated she died of water intoxication. Water intoxication is a potentially fatal disturbance in brain functions that results from the over-consumption of water. Ms. Strange was 28 years old, leaving a husband and three children.”
The FCC document details a lot of what went on at the station leading up to the contest, how the station apparently was warned of the dangers of drinking so much water and how the jocks on the air at the time changed the contest on the fly, “increasing the danger of the contest.” It’s also a management lesson on how a contest can quickly go wrong.
Read the entire FCC document HERE