If you thought the classic WKRP in Cincinnati move of dropping live turkeys out of a helicopter for a Thanksgiving giveaway was crazy, and would never happen in real life, think again. Hare-brained stunts have become a mainstay of commercial radio, where stations are constantly competing to see who can make the biggest noise or grab the most attention. Sometimes they’re successful in walking the fine line between buzz and bust, while other times they cross the line or even trip and fall over it.
5 Guzzling Urine
Radio interns usually don’t get paid, and they certainly don’t get respect either if they work for Spokane’s 104.5 FM. On the station’s Bad Boy Radio Show, they implemented Wheel Wednesday where somebody on staff had to spin a wheel with different disgusting tasks on them. Of course the new intern was the guinea pig, and she was forced to drink her own urine on the air. The result was a lot of gagging and spitting. It could have been worse, but there’s no word as to how long that intern kept working there, or how long Wheel Wednesday kept rolling.
4 Lighting Up the Neon
Some radio shows give away cars; this one destroys them. B93.7 FM’s Hawk and Tom Show has a regular feature called Torture Tuesday, and in 2006 they decided to blow up their co-host Kato Keller in a car. They put him in a Dodge Neon, added hundreds of fireworks, 16,000 firecrackers, almost 300 roman candles and 400 Saturn missiles, and lit the whole shebang. The only smart part of the stunt was having a crew of firemen standing by with a hose, pulling Kato from the heavily smoking vehicle because it looked too dangerous, and dousing the whole thing before the big explosion.
3 Tattooing the Trouser Snake
The contestant actually picked this one himself—no, really! 39-year-old Andreas Muller volunteered to have the Mini logo tattooed on his penis, one of many crazy stunts suggested by listeners of a European radio station in 2011. The German man’s painful endeavor was the most outrageous, so he won himself a brand-new Mini Cooper while listeners won the chance to hear him scream on air during the procedure. It would be interesting to see what he’d do for a Porsche.
2 Freezing Their Butts Off
Four people were treated for severe frostbite after sitting on blocks of dry ice to win backstage concert passes from BRMB radio in Birmingham, England in 2001. Three of them spent 10 weeks in the hospital where they received extensive skin grafts to correct the damage, but were still left with permanent scarring—both physical and emotional. The station was fined but the contestants didn’t receive compensation. Presumably they didn’t go to the concert either.
1 Sex at the Confessional
This one cost famed shock jocks Opie and Anthony their jobs as syndicated radio hosts in 17 markets including home town New York, Dallas, Cleveland, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Washington D.C. In a 2002 stunt, a couple from Alexandria, Virginia, was encouraged to have sex in landmark St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan in hopes of winning a trip from the radio show. They claim the sex was simulated, but it was just feet from worshippers taking part in a sacred Mass service. The couple, Brian Florence and Loretta Lynn Harper, were charged with public lewdness while Infinity Broadcasting pulled the DJ duo off the air.