The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

03 April 2007

Jennifer Strange, Sacramento Radio Contest Death, KDND


Staffers Not Liable, Company Still Faces Suit

In Sacramento, it's a victory for employees of the station whose listener contest killed a young mother of three.

KDND-FM staffers, many of whom have since been fired, only narrowly avoided facing manslaughter charges, however. Meanwhile, corporate parent Entercom Communications must still defend itself against a civil lawsuit filed by the family of victim Jennifer Strange.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Jennifer Strange, 28, willingly participated in the contest by Sacramento radio station KDND-FM and showed no visible symptoms to suggest that she was seriously ill or in danger of dying, Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully said in a statement.

"She knew what the contest involved when she entered it and had the option to stop or discontinue her participation in the contest at any time," said Scully, outlining how prosecutors contemplated -- and ultimately decided against -- filing charges of involuntary manslaughter.

"There were no observable indications or symptoms that Jennifer Strange was experiencing a serious medical emergency which would have required station employees to seek or administer medical aid to her," Scully said.

On Jan. 12, Strange was among a group of contestants who participated in "Hold your wee for a Wii," in which the winner would get a a Nintendo Wii video game player. Contestants were asked to drink large quantities of water over a four-hour period and to refrain from urinting.

After consuming nearly 2 gallons of water, Strange complained of headaches and disorientation. She went home and died that day.

Strange's mother, Nina Hulst, who found her daughter's body, declined comment Monday.

Strange's family, including her three children and widower, William Strange, filed a civil wrongful-death lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court on Jan. 25 against KDND station manager John Geary, the DJs who hosted "The Morning Rave" program and Entercom Communications, the station's parent company. A number of employees were fired after Strange's death.

In fact, 10 staffers were fired in the wake of this now- infamous contest gone awry, as Entercom attempted to pass the blame to low- level workers and managers.

With this latest news development, the company is forced to watch Jennifer's story revisit national headlines, a further blow to its already- battered corporate image.

If the civil suit ever reaches a courtroom, not an outcome Entercom would likely desire, expect the Strange family's legal team to build a case against the company at its highest managerial levels.

After all, they created the environment that led to this black eye for the entire radio industry.

ELSEWHERE: updates at SaveWRKO.

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  • more copy & paste reporting...who knew sucking amazon for money from hits would be such a boon to the untalented...

    By Blogger TJ, at 03 April, 2007 13:27  

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