Stupid Radio Station Stunts

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From Random Notion’s “Business At The Speed Of Stupid” file.

A radio station, KDND 107.9 in Sacramento, held a contest they called “Hold Your Wee for a Wii.” The winner, whoever could drink the most water without going to the restroom, would win a Nintendo Wii game system. I guess it’s funny watching people hopping around holding their crotch, although it might work better on television. Radio just doesn’t have the same visual punch, even with KDND’s web cam.

Sounds like a harmless publicity stunt, except they forgot about a sometimes fatal condition called water intoxication or hyperhydration. If you take in water faster than you can eliminate it, you throw off the body’s delicate electrolytic balance. Sodium and magnesium levels in your blood become too dilute, and your cells begin absorbing water. If those cells are in the brain or your central nervous system, you may experience symptoms similar to intoxication. If the condition continues, those cells and other cells in your body may burst. Symptoms include lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Oh, and stroke and heart failure. Not quite as funny as peeing your pants.

One of KDND’s contestants, a 28 year-old mother of three, didn’t win the Wii. Instead, a few hours after leaving the radio station, she called her workplace complaining of a severe headache. Her mother found her at home, dead. The coroner’s preliminary investigation cited evidence “consistent with a water intoxication death.”

Of course, it may turn out the preliminary report was wrong and that KDND’s contest had nothing to do with the woman’s death, but I think we all get the point. If your business is going to sponsor a contest, try not to kill people in the process.

Footnotes of irony …

The woman’s last name: Strange.

The radio station’s moniker: The End.

2007-01-17 Update: A day after Jennifer Lea Strange died, KDND-FM suspended the morning radio show that ran the Wii contest. A day after that, the station fired its three morning disc jockeys, along with seven other employees.

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