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

Step Up to the Microphone!

September 9, 2013

Scan across just about any radio dial in the entire country, and you'll hear exactly the same big city, big corporate programming: Rush Limbaugh, Fox Sports, Top 40, NPR.
But what about local programming? Where are the reporters covering the city council or the county board of supervisors? High school football or Little League? Bake sales or community events? This kind of homegrown programming was once the heart and soul of radio. It formed a public square that informed listeners about the community's very identity.
We've missed that spirit of radio since 1996, when Bill Clinton and Congress decided to allow a few national companies to program the entire nation with their corporate choices of music, sports, and political talk, local needs be damned.
But thanks to activists ranging from the Philadelphia area Prometheus Radio to the Davis, California non-profit Common Frequency, the true heart and soul of radio may be coming back -- if people in local communities choose to be the media they want to hear.

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

Once in Lifetime Opportunity to Own Local  Low Power FM Radio!

It's official:  Local community groups will finally have an opportunity to be heard on their own radio stations in their own towns.  The Federal Communcations Commission has announced the official process to apply for these low power FM stations, but there's a catch:  all applications must be filed between October 15 and October 29, 2013. 

How 'Radio Ink' and the Right Attempt to 'Silence' Opponents: Lie About Them

June 7, 2013

The radio industry magazine Radio Ink caught wind of my recent article, "Tell the FCC: Talk Radio is NOT 'Bonafide News'", as published at The BRAD BLOG, (and subsequently reprinted by the Huffington Post.)
As might be expected by an industry with a long track record of willfully misinforming the public, perhaps it is not surprising that Radio Ink --- which bills itself as "Radio's Premier Management & Marketing Magazine" --- would wildly mischaracterize not only the piece I wrote, but the legal underpinnings of the case which is helping to bring the question of what comprises "Bonafide News" to the forefront.

Tell the FCC: Talk Radio is NOT Bonafide News!

Sue Wilson
Originally published by The BRAD BLOG...  
                                                                               May 28, 2013 

   President Obama recently nominated Tom Wheeler as the new Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the federal agency tasked with protecting the public interest in broadcasting, particularly over our public airwaves.
   One of the first questions Wheeler's FCC will have to (reluctantly?) decide: Is Talk Radio the same as "bonafide news"?