An Open Letter to Cumulus Media Inc. and Q100 about it's Sixflags Promotion

Q100 was running a promo for DitchDay that was to encourage people to go to SixFlags today, between 6 am and 9 am for free admission to the park. Lo and behold the park was swamped before 6 am and the gates closed and the freeway offramps blockaded by police. Cumulus Media Inc. should be billed for the horrible traffic problems they caused. Not to mention the thousands who weren't able to get in for the free day and the countless people holding passes and other tickets that will not be allowed into the park today. Below is a copy of the letter I have sent them all regarding this.

Hello,

I was not a listener to your station, until today. You see, today you caused a great deal of disturbance, not only in my life but in the life of my family, and tens of thousands of others, many of whom also were not listeners to your station.

It is this reckless disregard for anyone and everyone, trying to get publicity at any cost that has put you in position to receive every bit of effort I can muster in making sure you pay for the stunt you pulled off today. In doing so you have not only brought my anger down on yourself but also your sponsors, this is why I have become a Q100 listener, so I can discover what companies have mistakenly given you advertising revenue that has allowed the continued existence of your station.

As I discover each of your advertisers I will in turn be contacting them and notifying them that their further affiliation with Q100 and/or Cumulus Media Inc. will result in my fevered efforts to not only purchase from their competition myself but I will also be very verbal online and in person with anyone whom I can get to listen about why they should avoid companies like yours and your sponsors who continue to support you.

As far as I am concerned you are no better than the advertising company who had to pay Boston $2million for the hysteria they were a party to or any of the other countless poor excuses for marketing ideas that have graced our country this year.

Was no one in your whole company capable of guessing the possible ramifications of your so called promotion? Obviously not. Let me spell some of them out for you.

* Listeners don't get into the event at 6 Flags. Not a big deal to you, but to thousands of listeners who had promised their kids they were going its a huge deal. To the listeners who took a irreplaceable day off from work (because some of us only get limited vacation days per year).
* People on spring break don't get into 6 Flags, because of your filling the park to 'capacity', or was that merely the most people that you were allowing in for free. I find it very interesting to note that the parking area was no where near as full as it normally is in the spring or summer, why is that? Did everyone come on buses?
* People in a 20-50 mile radius of the park, have their morning routines destroyed by you. Yes, I know, a little traffic never hurt anyone right? Except for the people involved in accidents along the most traveled routes to your marketing spectacle today, some probably even caused by the huge increase in traffic volume that your even triggered. Were any of the accidents fatalities today, maybe caused by EMS being unable to reach the people in time?
* Except for the people who were an hour or more late for work, how many lost their jobs because through no fault of their own other than they had to use a freeway that was extremely congested because of your publicity stunt.
* How about the people who weren't able to get police service because police from 3 counties had to respond to help block traffic and shut down the park? How many of them had a rougher or more deadly day because of your stunt? Placing a prank phone call to the police usually results in charges being filed for just this reason, pulling police from their assigned duties to do something frivolous.

I would certainly have hoped a radio station would have more sense under its roof than what resulted in the above. But hey, what do you care right? You got all the publicity of a presidential election! Obviously you don't care about your listeners, it was shown quite clearly today when your DJ's were talking about the contest about riding roller coasters and one of the female DJ's pleaded "please tell me you signed a release". So worried about your own back, and the stations liability that you clearly show you don't care about the life and limb of that listener one bit, other than hoping she will generate you publicity and not sue you if she gets hurt generating that publicity. You are behaving no better than the station in California ( KDND ) that allowed Jennifer Strange to die over a promotion.

It is companies like yours, who in pursuit of the almighty dollar, show they don't care who gets trampled in the process. Lets hope your sponsors show a little more class and moral foresight.

I will also be suggesting that all counties involved in helping to shut down the park, and deal with your promotion induced traffic nightmare, bill you for services rendered.

Copies of this email will be available on my website http://patentlystupid.com for perusal by the public.
--
Richard Ahlquist

Comments

I could never imagine being on a packed interstate, and telling my kids "Hey, why don't you jump out of the vehicle and run the (insert guesstimated distance to gates) to get in and play". It does not take a genious to say "if it is this packed out on the interstate, surely it's worse the closer you get and even more so inside the park, RIGHT??

My husband called it "a special kind of stupid" and I agree. Your website name is the perfect fit for all the parents who dropped their kids off in the middle of the road to have them wander around, just to be denied at the gates, and then walk back, only to find the parents not where they left them. Thank the Lord most kids have cell phones today...hopefully.

I love the way Fox News handled the six flags day a while back. you had to call in and get tickets. there was no rush. it was smooth and easy. Q100 let this be the end all to beat all. Thank the lord there wasn't a shooting. But Fights did break out. They could have put time limits out there. Like say half the day is the set then hand out tickets for the rest of the people coming until 9am to come later in the day.

Seeing as Q100 said on air that they KNEW a big company gave there people the day off to go and it was passed around schools in email/letters home for the kids to go. they should have knew what they had there hands in. Not even following there own rules of opening at 6 am! I feel bad for all the mom's that wanted to give there child somthing to do fun and free. I feel even more sorry for the working people that got stuck in the traffic jam Q100 and six flags caused.

I'm sure the ones that got in are haven a blast but i think i rather not be there with 15K+ people and waiting hours in line to ride one ride.

Hugs to all the disapointed kids out there. I have a very sad one at my house too.

This blog is so stupid. Six Flags and Q100 did not close the park. It was the police. And the police closed it for safety, which was smart. The workers were stuck in traffic and the park was to capacity for the number of workers that were there at that time. Yes, more people were allowed in later. As more employees made it into the park, more guests were allowed to enter. They had to have enough employees to handle the crowds. Again-SMART. It was AFTER 9:00 so the promotion was OVER so they were paying customers. You could have went too. I read that full capacity is around 40,000 WITH A FULL STAFF. Good grief, read all the facts before you go off on your tangent.

I agree the traffic sucked. I was there and didn't get in either, but there is NO ONE to blame for this mess. It was not a greedy scam by either party. Q100 was trying to thank their listeners with a day of fun. Thank you Six Flags and Q100 for trying to do something nice for us. :)

Hi liz and welcome. I'm afraid we will have to agree to disagree on some of the finer points. Yes the park was closed by both the police and the fire marshal from what I heard too. I found it amazing to pass the parking lot ( the one with the chevron at the end of it ) and it was nearly empty. So yes the capacity issue was relative. It was however stupid for SixFlags, using past promotions as a gauge, to not realize this would be the end result. Their inadequate management of the situation shouldn't be my problem nor the problem of the thousands who they inconvenienced and I'm not even referring to the ones going to the park! A quote I came up with years ago is very applicable to this situation.

"The only difference between forethought and hindsight is when you bother to think things through."

As for the traffic your right it sucked and thats not uncommon for Atlanta, I should know I commute 400 miles a week in it. I live in Carroll county and commute to near Vinings. Yes I had to drive through that mess. No I wasn't trying to go to SixFlags I had to work, my wife and kid didn't and were planning on going but didn't get there in time which isnt that big a deal to us.

Working close to the advertising business I can tell you with 100% assuredness that Q100 and SixFlags did NOT do this to do something nice. They did this for publicity. Remember SixFlags put 6 parks up for sale last year. They are hurting, Atlanta was allegedly a narrow escapee. They threw Atlantans a bone and are hoping it will pay off in the future for them, the only problem is they tossed it in front of a bus....