Frivolous lawsuit has no bearing

Donny Sobnoski

On Jan. 12, Jennifer Strange died.

A few hours before her death, she had participated in a morning radio contest for the “Morning Rave,” a show on the Sacramento station KDND 107.9 “The End.”

In the contest, called “Hold Your Wee for a Wii,” 20 contestants drank as much water as possible without urinating. The person who drank the most water and held it in the longest was the winner and the recipient of a brand new Nintendo Wii video game system. Strange came in second place, drinking over two gallons of water.

By that afternoon, her mother found her dead on her bathroom floor. Strange was a mother of three and was trying to be a good mom and win her kids the video game system they wanted.

While the contest was live on the air before Strange’s death, a caller who identified herself as a nurse named Eva informed the DJs that the contest was dangerous and people could die from such an act. They, of course, acknowledged that fact and rebutted by saying all the contestants had signed waivers, which was true.

Throughout the contest, the DJs heckled and made fun of the contestants for their discomfort and desire to go to the bathroom. They poked fun as each dropped, one by one. They even addressed Strange specifically for having an enlarged belly, saying she looked three months pregnant.

Of course, all this would have been funny if someone hadn’t died.

But someone did.

Now the morning DJs who were just doing their jobs look like complete jerks. Every morning and afternoon radio show I’ve listened to in the past two weeks has played the sound clips from their show on the air.

Because someone died from a radio contest that any station would have had if they had thought of it, all ten employees of the “Morning Rave” have been fired, the station and the DJs are being sued for wrongful death, and the lawyers for the Strange family are petitioning the FCC to revoke KDND’s radio license.

This might sound a little cold-blooded, but this was not KDND’s fault. It was Strange’s.

Yes, all the participants signed a waiver. Yes, that waiver included the possible health risks. The station and the DJs offered to give consolation prizes to the contestants who quit the contest early. Strange actually took two tickets to an upcoming Justin Timberlake concert, and she left the contest early. No one made her stay, no one made her drink the water. She did it all on her own because she wanted a Wii.

Yes, Jennifer Strange should have been aware of what she was getting herself into. Her lawyers are arguing that she didn’t really think there was a possibility of death and she just signed the waiver without giving it a second thought.

Well, isn’t that the point of a waiver? To protect the radio station? If KDND loses this suit then what is the point of waivers? The fact is, there was such a contract, and she signed it.

The Strange family has no legal ground to sue KDND over this and absolutely no right to try to have the station’s license revoked.

Donny Sobnosky is a senior video and film programming major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].