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Do Radio Personalities Go Too Far?

Aug 17, 2007
Just how far will some radio show hosts go with their contests to endanger their listeners? As you may have heard, recently there was a radio contest in Sacramento, California where two radio personalities running a Nintendo Wii contest were prepared to take contestants to the grave... and did.

To this day, radio is one of the only regulated, interactive mediums that purposefully puts their listeners into harms way or humiliates them for jest, often rewarding their degradation with prizes worth far less than the embarrassment caused by the contest, resulting with the loss of self-esteem.

For example, there was a contest in Sacramento, California that resulted in the death of a 28-year old wife and mother of three, who happened to place second in the contest to win a Nintendo Wii.

The radio show hosts used the pun wee for Wii, stating that the person who could hold their urine the longest after drinking gallons of water would win the Nintendo gaming system, knowing full well that the result of the contest could yield death by water intoxication.

The contest was senseless, caused severe discomfort, and was immoral.

The radio program hosts were well aware that someone could die as a result of what they were asking them to do. People even called in to the station to request that they stop the contest so that no one would get hurt.

One of the contestants, who died later that day, was documented as saying that she was feeling nauseas and had a terrible headache, similar to what another contestant compared to a drunken state.

She was ignored, and as a result, paid with her life.

The personalities simply said that the contestants understood what could happen and had signed off on it. In their opinion, these people knew what they were doing and as a result, they (the hosts) were therefore not responsible for the consequences of the activity.

Such tragedies can and should be avoided.

A human life has immeasurable worth, and if lost, cannot be retrieved, cloned, or compensated for.

The fact that there are some among us who do not respect and value the lives of other people is disturbing. The fact that some of those people have the ability to broadcast said sentiments is more disturbing still.

Even if the young woman had survived and won the Wii, would the end have justified the means?

One thing you can do is report content that you think is offensive, obscene, profane or indecent to the FCC. I've found a page where you can learn about filing complaints and get your voice heard. It's titled Obscenity, Indecency & Profanity.

Everyone is accountable. Until no one participates, listens, or facilitates these contests, they will not cease to exist.
About the Author
Stephanie Ciccarelli is the VP of Marketing with Voices.com, the voice over marketplace hosting more than 8,000 professional voice talents. Stephanie is also the author of The Definitive Guide To Voice-Over Success.
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