Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 5:29am
CAN DEATH DENT MEDIA'S HUMILIATION FAD?
[SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle, AUTHOR: CW Nevius]
[Commentary] When a Sacramento mother died Jan. 12 of water intoxication after a morning radio stunt on Sacramento station KDND went wrong, it sent a jolt through the industry. And this may not get resolved with a radio network issuing an apology and offering cash to make everything go away. "There isn't going to be a settlement," says Roger Dreyer, the Sacramento attorney who is handling a wrongful death lawsuit for Strange's husband and three children. "There's going to be a venting in a public forum. That's what we want, and that's what the family wants." One must assume, however, that it is not what the large corporations that own most of the radio stations in this country want. The water-drinking stunt isn't out of the ordinary. In fact, local station KSAN 107.7 has done it more than once -- although with supervision and planning. "There have to be network executives who are thinking, there but for the grace of God go I," says Michael Harrison, editor and publisher of the influential Talkers magazine, a trade publication covering the talk radio industry. "This is one of the most important stories to come along. This is big." "This is a story that is going to be reverberating for a long time," says Tom Taylor, editor of Inside Radio, an industry newsletter. "Everybody's paying attention to this. And it's clear from talking to station managers that they've already pulled back on the stunt-boy stuff."
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