A radio station in Calgary, Alberta, is taking heat for setting $5,000 in cash on fire in a promotional stunt.
90.3 AMP Radio is asking listeners to vote in a promotion called “Bank It or Burn It
.” Listeners can vote via text message or through the radio station’s app with the words “#BANK” or “#BURN.” If more people vote for “#BANK,” then everyone who votes is entered into a drawing for money. If “#BURN” wins, then the station’s DJs Ryan Lindsay and Katie Summers throw the cash in a pet crematorium’s incinerator.
The two DJs did just that last week when “#BURN” won the first round of voting with 54 percent of the vote. In round one, $5,000 was on the line, and everyone who voted to see it burn got the chance to watch via video:
The station disabled comments on the video, but it couldn’t stop people from commenting on Facebook.
Here’s an example of what commenters were saying there:
Children in your city go hungry, families are homeless and live in shelters, and there are elderly who struggle to eat one meal a day and this is the message you send? That it's okay to burn thousands of dollars? Hey, why didn't you just hit the bricks and personally slap the faces of all those people in your city struggling to eat, to survive.
Your actions are disgraceful and ignorant.
That’s the tenor of most of the comments. Callers to the station have made similar comments, according to Yahoo’s Shine blog
In the video, Summers and Lindsay lament the loss of the cash and talk about the house payments they could make and diapers they could buy with the money. Lindsay told CTV that the station was bound to do what the voters demanded.
“This city made a conscious decision, and we had to stick with what they said because that's what we said we were going to do,” he said.
Facebook commenters pushed back against that argument.
“Blaming your actions on the voting process is shameful,” one commenter wrote. “Your business has received lots of global attention due to your actions. Perhaps that is what you set out to do.”
Clearly, that is what the station set out to do. Lindsay told CTV that that $5,000 was “a fraction of what almost any other entity in this city spends on their marketing costs alone, and it's garnered a lot of talk.”
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The second round of the promotion is underway now. This time, $10,000 is potentially up for grabs.
Burning cash is against federal law in the United States, but destroying paper currency is basically legal in Canada (though it is illegal to destroy coins).