It seemed a great wheeze at the time - a radio contest called “Hold Your Wee for a Wii" . The prize was a Wii video game, worth $250, going to the person who drank most water without peeing.
A nurse shocked at the idea, called on air to the Morning Rave Show at station KDND in California to warn that contestants were endangering their lives from water contamination.
But the contest went ahead with a host laughing and asking, “Is anyone dying in there?”
Jennifer Lea Strange, 28, entered and she and other contestants vomited. She dropped out of the contest, went home and died about six hours later.
A jury awarded $16,577,188 damages against KDND .
Now the Sacramento radio station could lose its licence. Two media watchdog groups are challenging the license renewal of the station held financially responsible for the water intoxication death of the young mother .
The Sacramento Media Group and the Media Action Center will file legal challenges with the US Federal Communications Commission before the Nov. 1 deadline to contest the station’s pending eight-year broadcast license renewal.
Media Action Center founder Sue Wilson, producer of a 2009 documentary, “Broadcast Blues,” on Strange’s death, said the groups intend to formally serve papers when FCC commissioners meet in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 22.
Wilson said a jury had held the radio station liable for Strange’s death, but the FCC has shown "no inclination" to go after its broadcast license – despite calls from the victim’s family for sanctions against the station.
“In that contest, a woman died,” Wilson said. “However, the Federal Communications Commission has not acted in any way.”
Kevin Geary, a spokesman for KDND’s parent , Entercom Communications, said “the events in 2007 were tragic. Our thoughts remain with the family. We will respond to any petition filed with the FCC at the appropriate time.”
In the 2007 contest on KDND’s “Morning Rave” show, contestants were urged to drink as much water as they could without urinating to win the $250 video game system.
No family members were present at a news conference this week calling for the rejection of the station’s licence renewal.
The KDND’s on-site station management and crew of the “Morning Rave” show were fired after Strange’s death.