Who's Accountable for Reckless Broadcasting?

November 12, 2013

Who is Accountable for Reckless Broadcasting?
A couple of weeks ago, through my non-profit project, the Media Action Center, I filed a Petition to Deny the renewal of the broadcast license of a radio station in Sacramento because, simply put, they killed a woman.

While the radio station's insurance company paid millions after they were found guilty for negligence in a lawsuit, the station itself never paid any price, as you or I would, if we had killed someone, even accidentally. The death, however, can barely be called an accident, as the jury discovered.

And now, it's up to the FCC as to whether they force real accountability in this matter, by denying renewal of the station's license to broadcast over our public airwaves. 

In 2007, Entercom Sacramento's KDND sponsored a water drinking contest called "Hold Your Wee for a Wii." The idea was to compete to see who could drink the most water without peeing; "last man standing" would win a Nintendo Wii!  But the stunt went bad, so bad that 28 year old mother of three, Jennifer Strange, died as a result

Her family hired a lawyer, who did two things:  he filed a lawsuit against Entercom and he wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking that the station's license be revoked.

The attorney, Roger Dreyer, won his lawsuit and a $16.6 million dollar award for the family in 2009.  The jury in William A. Strange v Entercom unanimously decided Entercom Sacramento was 100% liable for Mrs. Strange's death. 

The jury understood that her death was caused by no mere accident, but rather more like by a reckless driver careening down the wrong side of a busy freeway doing 120 mph. 

Media Action Center Files Petition to Deny KDND's Broadcast License

November 1, 2013

contact: sue@mediaactioncenter.net 
The Media Action Center has published its "Petition to Deny" the renewal of the broadcast license of KDND-FM, the Entercom radio station in Sacramento found liable for the 2007 death of Jennifer Strange in a water drinking stunt.   November 1 is the final day for the public to challenge California radio stations' licenses in the 2005 - 2013 license renewal period.
The pleading documents that not only did KDND staff know they were promoting a stunt that could kill someone, they never informed contestants of that fact. It further documents that Entercom staff and management had no training in safety procedures for contestants, and completely ignored contestants who became violently ill throughout the course of the contest.  Furthermore, the pleading shows that once Entercom management learned of Mrs. Strange's death, they chose not to call other contestants to warn them of potential hazards to their health, choosing instead to call attorneys.  In addition, it shows that Entercom has engaged in a pattern of conduct which proves it does not have the character qualifications to hold an FCC license to broadcast, including indecency violations, payola, defamation of character, deceiving listeners, and more.
"The question is not whether Entercom deserves to lose its license to broadcast, but rather will the Federal Communications Commission act?" says MAC director Sue Wilson.  "Another 'Petition to Deny' KDND's license was filed November 1, 2005, and has never been adjudicated.  If it had, it possible that Jennifer Strange would be alive today."
The FCC is the Federal agency tasked with overseeing broadcasters so they serve the public interest.  Wilson will go to the FCC November 13 and 14 to insist that the agency acts on this Petition, as well as many others that have languished for years.
The "Petition to Deny" can be found here: http://www.mediaactioncenter.net/p/blog-page_760.html