WASHINGTON, D.C.—A radio station contest held by Sacramento station KDND led to the death of a listener. Now, nearly a decade after the tragedy, the FCC is debating whether or not to renew KDND’s license. Womble Carlyle attorney John Garziglia discussed these surprising new developments with Radio Ink.

In 2007, a 28-year-old woman died from water intoxication after participating in a station-sponsored water drinking contest. KDND subsequently cancelled the “Morning Rave” program and fired 10 employees. The woman’s family sued the station and won a $16.5 million wrongful death verdict in a jury trial.

Garziglia said, “I suspect that there has been an ongoing debate within the FCC’s staff for years as to what was to be done about this on-air event that resulted in death, with the central question being whether the tragedy merits the ultimate punishment of the loss of the radio station’s license. Notably, there were no dissents among the Chairman and the four Commissioners to this Hearing Designation Order.”

Click here to read “What if the FCC Did This To You?” at "Radio Ink."

John Garziglia represents radio and television broadcasters, offering personalized assistance in all areas of communications and telecommunications law including transactional and contract negotiations for broadcast station mergers and acquisitions, the securing of financing, governmental auctions of new frequencies, license renewals, new stations applications, facility changes, facility upgrades, licensing, and compliance with FCC rules, regulations and policies.


Follow John Garziglia on Twitter at @JohnGarziglia.