NOW Angered By Radio Contest (January 4, 2005)

Miami Herald Author/Byline: Vickie Chachere

Clear Channel Communications is being criticized by women’s health advocates over a Christmas contest which granted breast enlargement surgeries to women in four cities.

The “Breast Christmas Ever” contest was aired in Tampa, Jacksonville, St. Louis and Detroit and has drawn the ire of both the National Research Center for Women & Families and the National Organization for Women. NOW has urged its supporters to file complaints against the company and its stations with the Federal Communications Commission.

The controversy comes within months of Clear Channel paying a record $1.75 million fine to resolve indecency complaints against New York-based shock jock Howard Stern, Tampa radio personality “Bubba the Love Sponge” and others. The station formally agreed to “clean up its act,” FCC Chairman Michael Powell said in June.

While neither group is alleging the breast surgery contest violated decency standards, they are complaining the contest promotes potentially dangerous surgery and leaves its winners with no legal remedies should the surgery go awry. Under the rules, winners, who must be at least 18, must sign a waiver protecting the company from all liability claims.

“I try not to be judgmental about whether a large radio station should be giving away free toys to children instead of free breast augmentation,” said Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women & Families, a health advocacy organization.

“The issue here is the ethics of providing a so-called prize of a surgical procedure where the women have no protection if something goes wrong.”

Clear Channel said last week it had nothing to do with the contest.

Still, on the network’s Tampa station WFLZ, Breast Christmas Ever rules posted on the station’s website said Clear Channel Broadcasting was conducting the contest.

Copyright (c) 2005 The Miami Herald