Saturday, January 13, 2007

Radio Contest Gone Awry

Here's a happy little news excerpt:

Woman in Water Drinking Contest Dies

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A woman who competed in a radio station's contest to see how much water she could drink without going to the bathroom died of water intoxication, the coroner's office said Saturday.

Jennifer Strange, 28, was found dead Friday in her suburban Rancho Cordova home hours after taking part in the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest in which KDND 107.9 promised a Nintendo Wii video game system for the winner.

"She said to one of our supervisors that she was on her way home and her head was hurting her real bad," said Laura Rios, one of Strange's co-workers at Radiological Associates of Sacramento. "She was crying and that was the last that anyone had heard from her."

It was not immediately know how much water Strange consumed…

Full Story Here

I'm hoping for the sake of the jocks involved that Ms. Strange died in a bizarre coincidence unrelated to the radio contest but if I were a betting man I'd bet it was directly related to drinking water for a video game system.

People are easily led. People will do a lot of stupid things for fame and fortune. Sorry, that's just the way it is: people… they are not always level headed.

That being said: KDND killed that woman. No silly disclaimer of "don't do this if you can't handle it" is sufficient. KDND is the responsible party. KDND is the business entity which encouraged folks to perform a dangerous activity. KDND jocks probably yucked it up as several folks just couldn’t drink any more. They likely cheered Jennifer Strange on as she kept a-drinkin'.

KDND has a lot of explaining to do but they are not the only ones. We have plenty of, dare I say, absolutely irresponsible morning DJ morons in our little town of Los Anchorage who would have done the very same thing if they'd have thought of it first.

What happened to those halcyon days when being caller number 12 was thrill enough?

We recently had a DJ get a juvenile male to come down to a radio station with some sort of pellet gun and volunteer to get shot in the ass for some hockey tickets. Hockey games are fun, sure, but offering anyone, let alone a minor, compensation for intentionally injuring themselves in public… well, it's wrong.

Maybe I'm a party pooper because I'm not a fan of Jackass-type humor or Fear Factor type challenges.

Maybe I'm a party pooper because I work for the po-po and have to field calls from angry, frightened, or confused citizens who don't listen to the particular radio station and so don't understand that the naked man running across the shopping mall parking lot is not a crazed criminal but really someone who NEEDS to win some concert tickets.

Or maybe I am a party pooper because a 28 year old woman died for a stupid reason and someone in uniform had to go tell her parents that they no longer had a daughter.

Hope the KDND jocks got a good laugh over that too.


Jas said...

Uh oh, you're heading into that Shaindlin-esque attitude, mister!

Jackass is funny, if you watch it in the spirit it was created, a bunch of ADULT morons doing moronic things for moronic reasons.

That is a world apart from DJ hacks who do stupid things to people in the name of ratings. It wasn't about getting the contestants fame, it was about doing something to drum up other people to listen and talk about them. Guess what, you're talking about them now. They will likely get a slap on the wrist(s) and then be told next time to run everything past legal and marketing before going forward.

Also, there is personal responsibility. Not that the woman should have paid with it for her life, but you take a risk when you do something because of greed, or avarice. If she had some self-restraint, she could have saved the money for it.

I think the larger issue is where we are headed as a society. We all want instant gratification, no one wants to work for anything anymore, and there is a huge sense of entitlement, and resentment when it’s not granted.

I feel bad for the woman, she died. I feel bad for her family. I don't feel bad for the DJs. And shame on the listeners if they encouraged the contest. If people want to be outraged, rage against the DJs and their program, but remember, there are innocent people that work and derive income from those DJs, advertisers, suppliers, and other people at the radio station.

*off the soap box now*

Glad to see you are feeling better, bro!

jen said...

okay, so i live near sactown and have a few more details. it's being reported here that she drank just over a gallon of water that day. and they ARE now calling it death by water intoxication. also, i don't know if the story mentions it, but she has three small children. these are the intended recipients of this wii game system. i hope they at least get that, since they have lost their mother.

the thing about this that particularly disturbs me is that less than a year ago, a college student up in Chico, CA made our local news (and quite prominently) for being hazed at a fraternity and dying. the cause of death??? water intoxication. he had consumed several gallons of water in one evening.

i just *know* this station had reported that story. and they still continued with this "hold your wii" stunt??? i hope they got an airtight waiver signed, because the attorneys here are lining up to take on this case.

Still Searching... said...

So incredibly sad, and needless...

smussyolay said...

doesn't it seem weird that you can die from drinking too much water? that always gets me. that a life giving substance, something that our bodies are mostly made of, can still take us down.

it brings to mind that 1. it's ALWAYS about moderation. no matter what the substance is. 2. that sometimes we just don't need things. i'm subject to it just as much as anyone else, but for god's sake, what will we stoop to? what will we go to for a material good?

i'm with you, eric. we have just kept elevating these sort of stunts and the like until it's just no big deal to eat dog shit while getting cut with razor blades all for $5 or something equally sick and inane. i still have weird flashbacks of the real world/road rules challenge where they all sat on blocks of ice and people got fucking hypothermia and shit for that. and what's even more fucked up is that a part of my brain looks at it and thinks: that is way beyond fucked up. and another goes: i could so totally beat their asses. i could withstand the pain. i could go zen and kick some major ass.

???wha?? just like when i see the truck people.

so, yeah. i don't know.

lastly ... a gallon of water? that doesn't seem like all that much. i mean, i know people who have drank a case of beer in a night and not even come close to dying. maybe she had shitty kidneys? shit, i knew people who competed to drink a gallon of milk in 50 minutes and hold it down for the rest of the hour. they never succeeded, but maybe that's why they're still alive.


jen said...

today they were saying it was maybe only a half gallon of water!? i don't know if it had anything to do with the fact that you had to hold your "wee" and that built up the toxic level of water in her cells.

anyway, ten people at the station were fired including all the dj's from the "morning rave". the station pulled the program yesterday and ran only music and commercials.

i heard tape today where a nurse called in that morning to the show to warn about the dangers of water toxicity. the dj was like, "yeah, we know. they signed waivers." i wonder if he feels like an ass now.

anyway, i've got to agree with smussy on this. the culture of greed and material possessions that we have here is toxic both to individuals as well as to the country as a whole.

Eric said...

To all: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!

The last update I saw was that she drank about 2 gallons of water in a relatively short period of time.

Death from such a thing is very rare.

But the point is that she was strongly encouraged to do something which would be potentially (and was actually) very dangerous - encouraged by a business in order and for no other reason than to make them money.

smussyolay said...

i will step over to the other side of the fence for a moment though, to say that while you say she was "strongly encouraged," i have to disagree a little in that i'm sure this contest was calling people of a certain ilk. no one was being encouraged but of their own desire to have a wii without paying for it, or their "need" to have one if they couldn't afford it.

you know? it's not like they mailed this woman a letter asking or encouraging her to participate in this contest. she voluntarily signed up in an effort to get something for 'nothing.' that's the wack part. it's the old if everyone did ____(something weird/sad/bad/something dumb) would YOU do it? argument my mom used to give me.