|Broadcast area||Sacramento, California|
|Branding||107.9 The End|
|Owner||Entercom Communications |
(Entercom License, LLC)
|KIFM, KKDO, KSEG, KRXQ, KUDL|
First air date
|1945 (as KXOA-FM)|
Last air date
|February 8, 2017|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|D (The) eND (station located at the right end of American FM broadcast spectrum)|
|ERP||50,000 watts (at the time of shutdown)|
KDND was an FM radio station licensed to Sacramento, California. The station first signed on in the 1940s as KXOA-FM, an FM simulcast of AM station KXOA, before separating itself with distinct programming, including most prominently soft rock and classic hits formats. In July 1998, following the sale of the station to Entercom, the station switched to its final KDND call letters and Top 40/CHR format branded as 107.9 The End. At the time of the station's closing, KDND's studios were located in North Highlands (though with a Sacramento address), while its transmitter was located just north of the Sacramento city limits near Elverta.
In January 2007, KDND's morning show controversially held an on-air contest in which contestants were challenged to drink as much water as they could without urinating, in order to win a Nintendo Wii video game console. A 28-year-old participant in the contest died of water intoxication, resulting in Entercom being sued for wrongful death by the participant's family. The FCC also investigated the incident, and in 2016, stated that it had placed the renewal of KDND's license under review, questioning whether the station had operated in the public interest.
Citing that its continued operation could affect Entercom's proposed acquisition of CBS Radio, KDND was shut down on February 8, 2017, and its format and branding were moved to KUDL two days earlier on February 6.
KXOA-FM began as a simulcast of KXOA in 1945. During this period, KXOA broadcast a traditional MOR/block programming format. In the mid-1950s, KXOA changed to a Top 40 format. KXOA-FM continued to simulcast the AM station through the 1960s. However, the station briefly ran a Country and Western format as KCNW-FM. The format and call letters ran from the Summer of 1961 through the Summer of 1962, when KRAK (1140) debuted with a Country and Western format. The station returned to simulcasting KXOA and re-adopted the KXOA-FM call letters. In the 1960s, the FCC dictated that all FM stations in areas having a population greater than 250,000 people must dedicate at least 50% of their broadcast schedule to separate programming from AM sister stations. In the late 1960s, KXOA-FM partially separated from its AM counterpart and broadcast adult contemporary music from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and then simulcasting KXOA's Top 40 programming until it signed off at midnight.
In 1970, KXOA-FM switched to an automated Country format. During this time, KXOA AM and FM were sold to separate parties. The AM station was sold to investors involved in the ownership of KSJO in San Jose. The FM station was sold to Drake-Chenault, a national radio syndicator, who moved the station to Loma Vista Drive off Fulton Avenue. In early 1971, they flipped KXOA-FM to their syndicated Solid Gold format, which featured pop hits from the 1950s through the present. In August 1972, the station flipped a progressive rock-oriented format branded as Earth Rock 108; the station hired Steve Rosetta as General Manager and Rick Carroll from KNDE as a consultant. Air talent from this era included Tom Buck, Greg Mundae, Tom Cale, and Kent Randles. In February 1973, the station was switched to an automated oldies format branded as Nostalgia Radio.
Shift to soft rock
In June 1974, Drake—Chenault sold the station to San Diego-based Brown Broadcasting, owners of KGB-AM-FM; the station re-branded as Super Stereo K-108, featuring top 40 music, and album-oriented rock at night. By early 1975, the station had shifted to an album-oriented soft rock format branded as The Mellow Home; the format was successful throughout the remaining half of the 1970s. During the 1980s, the station pivoted to a soft adult contemporary format, remaining successful throughout the remainder of the decade. Despite changes in ownership and format, staff turnover was rare. On-air personalities included Dusty Morgan, Dave Allen, and Tom Nakashima. KXOA-AM-FM simulcast broadcasts of American Top 40 with Casey Kasem during this period. K-108 FM also had a strong commitment to news and public affairs programming during the 1980s through the early 1990s. News director and morning news anchor Ken Hunt and his news team, (primarily Nanci McGraw from 1981 to 1986), won multiple journalism awards from the Associated Press TV Radio News Association and the Radio TV News Directors Association for news programming distinguished by its local coverage, creative use of natural sound and conversational style.
In the early 1990s, KXOA-FM's popularity began to wane following the launch of competitors in KYMX and KGBY. In response, in May 1993, the station flipped to a more uptempo adult contemporary format branded as Xtra 107.9, advertising itself as featuring "No Rap, Metal, or Madonna". The format did not improve KXOA's ratings; on March 25, 1994, the station flipped to a classic hits format branded as Arrow 108, adapted from Los Angeles' KCBS-FM.
In 1996, Brown Broadcasting sold KXOA-FM to Entercom; on July 14, 1998, at Noon, KXOA flipped to Top 40/CHR, branded as 107.9 The End, and changed its call letters to KDND. The first song on "The End" was "Everybody" by Backstreet Boys. The KXOA call letters, as well as the Arrow format and branding, were moved to KRAK-FM.
"Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest
On January 12, 2007, KDND's morning show, the Morning Rave, held an on-air contest entitled Hold Your Wee for a Wii, in which contestants were asked to drink as much water as they could without urinating. The contestant able to hold the most water would win a Wii video game console; at the time, the Nintendo console was a very popular and sought-after item, but was nearly impossible to find in stores in North America. A 28-year-old contestant, Jennifer Strange, died of water intoxication hours after taking part in the contest.
According to contest participants, 17 to 20 contestants took part in the competition in a room at KDND's studios. The contest began around 6:45 a.m. as contestants were each handed 240 mL (8 oz) water bottles to drink at 15-minute intervals. Contestants also said that as the contest progressed, they were given increasingly larger quantities of water to drink. According to witness reports, Strange, who placed second in the contest, may have drunk nearly 2 U.S. gallons (7.6 L). Some later remarked on the physical discomfort they suffered during and following the event.
The Sacramento Bee released audio clips from the morning show indicating that the disc jockeys were aware of the death of Matthew Carrington by water intoxication. At one point, a caller contacted the station and informed the DJs that the contest could be dangerous and potentially fatal. The DJs responded by saying, "We're aware of that," and said that the contestants had signed releases and couldn't file a lawsuit. According to a contestant, the waivers addressed only publicity issues and made no mention of health or safety concerns. The DJs also joked about Strange's distended belly, joking that she looked three months pregnant.
After the contest, Strange spoke to a co-worker by telephone, indicating she was on her way home and in extreme pain, suffering from what appeared to be an intense headache. The co-worker contacted Strange's mother, who went to her home an hour later to find her daughter dead.
On January 15, 2007, the front page of KDND's website was replaced with a message from John Geary, the station's vice-president and general manager, expressing sympathies to Strange's family and announcing that the Morning Rave program would be taken off the air indefinitely. On January 16, 2007, Geary dismissed ten station employees – including the three morning disc jockeys, Adam "Lukas" Cox, Steve Maney and Patricia "Trish" Sweet – from their positions in connection with the tragedy and cancelled the Morning Rave. All references to the Morning Rave program and associated DJs were removed from the KDND website.
The Associated Press reported that the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department spokesman said no officers were investigating the death, and that, "It was a contest and people are saying there was no coercion." However, Deborah Hoffman of KXTV reported that former prosecutor Bill Portanova commented that "the radio station has some serious liability exposure", due in part to widespread news coverage of the Matthew Carrington case two years earlier. On January 17, 2007, The Los Angeles Times reported that Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness ordered homicide detectives to investigate whether a crime had been committed. On April 2, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office declined to press criminal charges, citing a "lack of evidence of criminal misconduct."
On January 18, 2007, a wrongful death lawsuit was announced on behalf of Strange's husband and three children against Entercom and KDND's operating subsidiary Entercom Sacramento LLC. The Strange family was represented by prominent Sacramento attorney Roger A. Dreyer of the firm of Dreyer, Babich, Buccola & Callaham, LLP. The Stranges urged the FCC to shut down the station and punish Entercom. On January 24, 2007, the FCC announced that it would investigate KDND to see if it violated the terms of its license. On August 16, 2007, it was reported that two of the KDND DJs, Lukas Cox and Steve Maney, were suing Entercom over a wrongful termination of their contract. Subsequently, both DJs settled with Entercom for an undisclosed amount.
On September 14, 2009, jury selection in the wrongful death case began at the Sacramento County Superior Court's main courthouse in the city of Sacramento. Over the next month, the jury heard testimony from over 41 witnesses as 192 exhibits were entered into evidence. On October 29, 2009, after a week of deliberations, the jury awarded the survivors of Jennifer Strange the sum of $16,577,118 in monetary damages. Entercom Sacramento LLC was found to be 100% at fault for Strange's death while Entercom Communications was found to be 0% at fault. They also found that Strange was 0% at fault (that is, there was no contributory negligence) for her own death.
The former "Morning Rave" hosts have since found other radio jobs in different markets; Cox hosts mornings at KRBB in Wichita, Kansas. Maney hosts mornings on WNKS in Charlotte, and Sweet hosted mornings on WPLJ in New York City under the name Jayde Donovan until 2019 when the WPLJ ended its format and was sold to another owner; Jayde now hosts a show on Apple Music 1 and was also on WMTX in Tampa, Florida.
The Media Action Center, a watchdog organization founded by former producer Sue Wilson, filed a complaint against KDND's license when it was up for renewal in 2013. In October 2016, the FCC designated Entercom's license renewal for KDND for a hearing, disputing whether the station had operated in the public interest over its previous license term.
Shortly prior to the start of jury selection in the trial, KDND began to tease that it would be "saying goodbye" on September 8, 2009, leading to speculation that the station was planning to drop The End in favor of a different format, or shut down entirely. However, an unpublished page on the station's website, located by a KTXL viewer, subsequently revealed that the slogan was actually referring to a commercial-free Tuesdays promotion that the station was starting that day. KDND subsequently confirmed the announcement.
On February 2, 2017, Entercom announced its intent to acquire CBS Radio. The next day, Entercom announced that KDND would cease operations effective February 8, and that its license would be terminated and returned to the FCC. Entercom stated that "it is in the company's best interests to voluntarily turn in the KDND license to facilitate the timely FCC approvals for the planned combination with CBS Radio." The then-chief of enforcement for the FCC stated to the Sacramento Bee that the motive was financial, and that Entercom would likely have fought had a merger not been planned.
KDND's format and The End branding were re-located to sister station KUDL at 9:00 a.m. on February 6, 2017 (the last song before the move was "Scars to Your Beautiful" by Alessia Cara). 107.9 then began stunting with a jockless playlist of pop music occasionally interrupted by static-backed liners redirecting listeners to KUDL and advising remaining listeners of the impending shutoff of the signal; this would later transition to a loop of "Bye Bye Bye" by N'Sync and "End" staffers redirecting listeners to KUDL. As the station's final program, a farewell special aired at 11:30 p.m. on the 7th, hosted by former afternoon DJ Chris K, playing music from the End's 18-year history was broadcast. This special also culminated with "Bye Bye Bye" by N'Sync. The station did not state its callsign at sign-off, as before the song was finished, KDND's transmitter was shut down on February 8 at 12:01 a.m., bringing a close to the 72-year history of the station.
Entercom also paid the Media Action Center $35,000 for attorney fees involved in their petition to deny renewal. In return, the Media Action Center would not challenge other Entercom licenses or the CBS Radio acquisition.
Deletion of license
On September 7, 2017, the FCC deleted the license for KDND after denying a Petition For Reconsideration and Application For Review filed by former 106.5 KWOD owner Ed Stolz, who had sought to have his 1996 sale of the station rescinded so he could resume control. The FCC ruled that Stolz's arguments had no merit and, additionally, he is not a party of interest in the dispute between Media Action Center and Entercom that led to the license revocation hearing.
The FCC returned the 107.9 frequency on which KDND was licensed to operate to the agency's inventory of unused channels, to be put up for auction to the highest bidder. The FCC stipulated that use of the frequency must retain its short-spaced protections to Cumulus Media’s 107.7 KSAN San Mateo, California. Any applicant will be limited to 50 kW ERP and an average height above average terrain of 123 meters in the direction of KSAN. The FCC included the 107.9 frequency in its auction scheduled to begin April 28, 2020, but the auction was indefinitely postponed on March 25, 2020, due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The allocation will again be up for auction as part of FCC Auction 109 beginning July 27, 2021.
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