NewCap Broadcasting’s Rocker Q104 inHalifax,Nova Scotiais playing matchmaker for one lucky person, offering the opportunity to win a mail-order bride from Czechoslovakia. The contest, “The Male is in the Czech,” offers to send the winner to Prague for five nights and also includes a number of arranged dates through czech-bride.com.
Since it launched Monday, the reaction has been far from happy, the station’s PD J.C. Douglas told Canada.com: “We’ve had a lot of people take exception to it and we’ve had a large number of official complaints registered with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. It’s somewhat disconcerting because we really think it’s been misunderstood…It seems like some of these people have taken a look at the icing and decided they don’t like the cake.”
The station’s Facebook page has been filled with feedback in recent days and others have voiced their opinions on Twitter. Common words used to describe the promotion are sexist’ and demeaning and a Facebook group titled “Shame on Q104 for the Czech contest” surfaced.
From the station site:
“Win a “Mail-Order Bride” from the Mighty Q!!
Q104 and Czech-Bride.com are gonna help you find your soul mate.
We’ll fly you toPraguewhere you’ll date a bevy of Czech beauties, compliments of Flying Hearts International Dating Service (czech-bride.com) and put you up at the luxurious Hotel Esplanade Prague (esplanade.cz)
To enter: Fill out the forms below and send us your photo.
Only finalists will be contacted.”
The winner receives the “Bronze Package” from the dating site. Included are four dates, which can be used on the same woman if the winner takes an immediate liking.
“If you look beyond the name of the contest…you’ll see that it’s really not a lot more than a European dating game,” Douglas told Canada.com, noting there’s no certainty the contest winner will find a spouse: “There’s no talk or any guarantee of intimate contact between these people. People are just going off without getting the facts straight…We picked a title that was a little provocative. Any time you put something that’s provocative out there, there will always be some people putting up a fuss…but we certainly didn’t anticipate this kind of response.”
He adds, “A lot of people have attached the issue of human trafficking and sexploitation to this contest. We, never in a million years, thought that would have any connection.”
In the fall of 2010, Q104 invited listeners to endure some bizarre feats to earn a chance at $25,000. Among the challenges to earn a qualifying spot were: receiving genital piercings; wearing a beard made up of radio staff’s pubic hair for a week; spending 24 hours locked inside a portable toilet; eating the toenails of an entire office staff; and giving a sponge bath to your boss.
RBR-TVBR observation: Anything to engage the audience and generate ratings is far game, but a little PR and preparation sometimes is prudent when you’re dealing with anything associated with exploitation of women. Perhaps a dual contest for finding a male date for the lady listeners of the station would have been a good idea as well—teasing the fact that they’ll have to go out of the country to find a date for the male listeners.