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Wii Have A Problem…

January 25, 2007

I hope the folks over at Sacramento’s KDND radio are proud of what they have accomplished.  In an age where radio stations are struggling to stay afloat, it seems the poor judgement of a few individuals may have placed one of the final nails in broadcast radio’s coffin. 

Between the overwhelming competition brought on by iPods and satellite radio providers, good ole ‘over-the-air’ (or free) radio has been up against the ropes for quite some time.  Unfortunately, in the quest for prime Arbitron ratings, listener welfare took a back burner to the excitement and draw of stunt broadcasting. It’s a shame, I so loved radio in my youth.  Now I find myself asking,”Is old radio worth keeping afloat if it means someone may die just to justify its bloated advertising rates?”

To no ones surprise, the family of victim Jennifer Lee Strange has decided to sue the radio station that promoted the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest.  I wish them the best in court but fully acknowledge that no amount of money can make up for their loss.  A high-profile case like this will only bring intense scrutiny to radio’s standards and practices, higher insurance premiums for broadcasters, and calls for overhauling the entire industry. 

It’s a shame that the monopolization of radio ownership (and the subsequent sanitization of radio’s content) that overtook broadcasting in the late 1990s happened without these same cries for legislative reform and oversight.  Those acts may very well have prevented this entire tragedy from occurring in the first place. 

While it’s too late save Jennifer Strange from her tragic fate, we may still have a chance to save radio from its impending (and graceless) demise. 

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