Tuesday, June 16, 2015


In 2014 the radio station CKMP burned $5,000 CAD.  Responses ranged from outrage to disbelief. They were not the first to get a bit of press attention for burning money. In 1994 the band KLF burned one million British pounds. [LINK] Responses ranged from outrage to disbelief. In 1984, Serge Gainsbourg burned a 500 French franc note on national television (in France.) Responses ranged from outrage to disbelief.  There are other examples, but the reaction always ranges from outrage to disbelief. So there is some cultural context out there if you need it.

CKMP uniquely were only burning money as a part of an on-air publicity stunt. The contest was called “Bank It or Burn It.” Co-hosts Katie Summers and Ryan Lindsay asked listeners to weigh in through social media on whether the stacks of bills should go to a lucky listener or be immolated. The internet did exactly what you'd expect it to do. 54 percent of respondents answered with the hashtag “#BURN” via text. The CBC even reported on it here. More here.

Just to make sure they got the job done the duo used an actual crematory for the burn. The Pet Heaven Crematorium & Funeral Chapel of Calgary did the honors. Perhaps they were surprised, but they followed through on their promise.  Technically they were not breaking the law. Canadian law only protects coins from defacement, not paper notes. Regardless, responses predictably ranged from outrage to disbelief.

CKMP immediately began promoting their next round of Bank It or Burn It, with a 10k pile of Canadian banknotes. This time voted to give away $10,000 rather than torch it. But this time the voting was a bit more secretive. It seems probably the outcome was fixed this time and the trolls overruled. A $10,000 check was written to The Children’s Wish Foundation. Their Facebook and twitter posts were all taken down. The contest was never run again. More here.