Racy Radio Promotion Raises Eyebrows

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Posted by Newsworthy on October 30, 2009 at 22:32:10:

Radio Station Stands By Promotion
Updated: 3:12 pm CDT October 30, 2009

MADISON, Wis. -- A local radio station is standing behind a concert ticket giveaway Wednesday night that encouraged listeners to send in nude photos of themselves.

But some people have come forward saying the Clear Channel Station, Madison's Z104 FM and its nighttime DJ, just went too far.

"Take a naked picture, send it to me -- tyler@z104fm.com -- just like you would normally text message," said the DJ, Tyler Kruze, Wednesday night. "The best picture is picking themselves up 4th row Sean Kingston tickets. I pick the winner at 9:30 tonight."

"In an impromptu contest, he invited his listeners to send a photograph of themselves doing their household chores, in the buff. I mean, this is the type of stuff people write to Ann Landers and Dear Abby about. It's kind of humorous to see the outrageous stunt that Tyler did," said Mike Ferris, operations manager for Clear Channel Madison.

But it was hardly funny to those listeners who got in touch with WISC-TV. One woman said she was shocked and appalled. Others called the stunt sick, ridiculous and disgusting.

Ferris said that seven listeners sent in pictures and entered the contest.

"Of course, we verified that they were all over 18, and then he edited the photographs and put them in an online gallery," Ferris said.

But Ferris couldn't clearly explain how their ages were verified, WISC-TV reported.

When asked how they verified that all the contests were over 18 years old, Ferris responded, "Did you see the photographs?"

When it was pointed out that some viewers have raised questions about possible child pornography issues, Ferris replied, "I don't think that's where this is going. And frankly, I'm offended that that's even the implication."

Ferris said the stunt was harmless and that he stands by his late night DJ.

"I think the people are overreacting. I simply think it was a fun, impromptu contest that Tyler Kruze hosted that supplied a handful of listeners with an opportunity to win tickets, with a little bit of frivolous fun," Ferris said.

By early Thursday morning, all of the pictures have been removed from the station's Web site.

Later on Thursday, Kruze started his shift with an apology, saying, "Last night, I conducted a contest that some people may have found in poor taste. For listeners and parents alike, I want to say I am sorry."

While Kruze did say that only listeners over 18 should send in pictures, some parents said they believe it still isn't sending the right message to children who might have been listening.

Parents cheering on their volleyball players at a sectional game in DeForest Thursday said they aren't happy with the message the promotion sends.

"My 9-year-old (said), 'Who is going to send naked pictures of themselves to a radio station?' So even he thought it was ridiculous," said parent Beth Jannusch, of Verona.

"Whose hand is it going to fall into?" said Dan McGinnis, who was watching his niece play volleyball Thursday. "You never know; it's getting put on the Internet. You're never going to get it back and it's going to never go away and could haunt you for a long time."

Parents said the issue is more concerning given recent teen "sexting" scandals, in which teens send others these types of pictures.

"My daughter is a middle-schooler and last year there was a girl in her class who sent a picture of herself exposed to someone else, and it's worrisome," Jannusch said.

"Certainly, we talk about that kind of stuff and as my girls have gotten older how that stuff can come back to haunt you," said parent Kathy Schleif, of Madison.

But some other parents said they think it was all in good fun.

"Yes, it does send the wrong message but sometimes people take everything so seriously, if we can just lighten up a little bit," said Judi Nonn, of Cross Plains.

Many of the parents who spoke with WISC-TV said they were surprised to hear that the pictures were posted on the Internet earlier Thursday, although the photos have since been removed.

Several media attorneys who WISC-TV spoke with said there could be some sort of indecency violation but it's unclear because the photographs weren't explicitly described on the air.

Calls to the FCC for clarification were not immediately returned Thursday.

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