What the story is is a story about a radio contest, a very lame contest in my view, that went terribly wrong. The whole idea of the contest held January 12 of '07 on KDND, branded as 107.9 The End, was how long one could go without weeing to get a Wii. One died in the process and, thank goodness for lawyers, the waiver they signed was worthless. If you go to the Sacramento Bee website, sacbee.com, you can hear the contest in its entirety.
The contest broadcast during the station's "Morning Rave" program began around 6:15 a.m. as contestants were each handed 8 oz water bottles to drink at 15 minute intervals. Contestants also said that as the contest progressed, they were given increasingly larger quantities of water to drink. Some later remarked on the physical discomfort they suffered during and following the event.
The clips on the Sacramento Bee website are troubling. They indicate that the DJs of the show were aware of the death of Matthew Carrington by water intoxication during a hazy ritual at Chico State University in California. Chillingly a caller who was a co-worker of Nurse Practitioner Judy Linder called the station and informed the DJs that the contest could be dangerous and that someone could die. The jocks respond by saying "we're aware of that," and joked that the contestants had signed releases and couldn't file a lawsuit. Wrong moron. However, according to a contestant, the waivers addressed only publicity issues and made no mention of health or safety concerns. Later in the broadcast the talent also joked about Jennifer Strange's distended belly, joking that she looked three months pregnant. Hours later she was dead.
The contest broadcast during the station's "Morning Rave" program began around 6:15 a.m. as contestants were each handed 8 oz water bottles to drink at 15 minute intervals. Contestants also said that as the contest progressed, they were given increasingly larger quantities of water to drink. Some later remarked on the physical discomfort they suffered during and following the event. No bells went off in the minds of the genie running The End.
This is Taylor On Radio's synopsis, note that when the jury asks for a bigger calculator, that is not a good thing is you are the one being sued.
Entercom-Sacramento faces a $16.57 million jury verdict in the water-death case.
“Hold your wee for a Wii” was dumb, dangerous – and now very costly. The jury’s final request (says the Sacramento Bee) was for a playback of “all the audio on [CHR ‘End 107.9’] KDND in which Jennifer Strange was talking to the station’s talent” during the January 12, 2007 contest. The jury had previously requested an adding machine that could handle ten digits. Attorneys for the family of Jennifer Strange asked for a verdict of $34 million to as much as $44 million. The jury settled halfway between nothing and the $34 million, at about $16.5 million. The testimony revealed the internal situation at the End wasn’t good. Various witnesses talked about a morning show that had gone over the line previously, and of a corporate office back in Philadelphia that was either guiding such things as promotions or (alternatively) had provided enough guidance and felt the local oversight was deficient. It sure doesn’t make radio look good, and the sizable verdict may make others consider the consequences of their promotions. You can imagine Entercom appealing the size of the verdict or even asking for it to be set aside. This isn’t the final word, unless Entercom stops and writes the check now. The Sacramento Board of Radio-Info.com is talking about it.
As a kicker, not only did Mrs. Strange lose her life and not only did her three kids and husband lose a life long companion, she also didn't win the Wii.