Friday, September 17, 2010

Stupid DJ Tricks: Part 11

This is the last installment in this round of Stupid DJ Tricks.  I'll revisit the theme again some day in the future when I'm stocked up on stories and reloaded with bile. This final story is big on the stupid factor, but at least there were no fatalities.  There were an estimated 1.8 million fires last year and they killed over 3,000 civilians and over 100 fire fighters, destroying 10 million dollars of property in the process. But only about 16% of these are vehicle fires. More stats here.  Let's segue from there right to the MJ Morning Show.

It's staff includes host "MJ" aka Todd Schnitt and his sidekicks Froggy aka Michael Cusamano, Fester aka Tony Siciliano, Hurricane Stevens aka Andrew Eden, and Meredith. Oh, what colorful nicknames.. except Meredith. It is unclear which if any of them directly started the grease fire in that van. But a later settlement suggests that the ringleaders were host Todd Schnitt, Tony Siciliano and Programmer "Tommy Chuck" aka Thomas Charles Ray.

The stunt planned for the morning of Friday the18th of December 2009 on it's surface seemed simple.  They intended in an act of super tailgating to deep fry a turkey inside a van parked in the parking lot of Clear Channels Tampa studios. But deep-frying a turkey is actually already somewhat dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association in 1999 there were 500 fires involving a deep-fat fryer. WFLZ staffers were supposed to lower the turkey through the open roof of a van into the deep fryer using a crane.. The turkey burned like flash paper as soon as it touched the fryer.  Then the van became engulfed in flames. Staff were unable to put out the fire with fire extinguishers.  Clear Channel to their credit broadcast the whole thing live from its studio parking lot at 4202 Gandy Blvd.

Tampa firefighters arrived shortly thereafter and spraying down the van with fire suppressant foam.  One firefighter, Ken Licata was injured during the blaze and hospitalized. WFLZ had not bothered to get any fire permits before the stunt. At the time, Tampa fire spokesman Capt. Bill Wade was quoted as saying "I am not happy..."

Initially Tampa Fire Authorities sought the trio on arson charges, but Clear Channel has a lot of lawyers.  they and WFLZ later came to an agreement.  Schnitt, Siciliano and Ray would have to complete 10 hours of community service to support burn victim, donate a total of $15,000 to charities that help fire victims and to complete a four-week public service campaign to raise awareness for related charities including five recorded PSAs on the MJ Show.  More here.