A Calgary radio station is feeling the heat after it burned $5000 in cash late last week.
Ryan Lindsay and Katie Summer, hosts of the weekday morning show on 90.3 AMP Radio, began promoting a contest called ‘$15,000 Bank It or Burn It.' Listeners vote to decide whether a certain amount of money will be given away to a listener or incinerated.
Voting through Facebook, Twitter, by text or through the station's mobile app, listeners select either "bank" or "burn." Those who select "bank "are asked to indicate their plans for the money. If the votes for "bank" outnumber the votes for "burn," one listener is selected to receive the cash.
However, "burn" took about 54 per cent of the roughly 100,000 votes cast in the first round of the contest and the $5,000 was sent off to the Pet Haven Crematorium. The radio station posted a video online of the cash burning.
The stunt has sparked outrage and backlash, with many people expressing their disappointment online.
Jordan Hamilton of the Calgary Drop-In Centre called the move "disgusting," arguing the money could have been used to shelter, dress and feed 100 homeless clients for the night.
“A night could turn someone’s life around," he told the Calgary Herald.
"People are starving themselves because they can barely pay rent in this city. Then you have a local radio station burning money!" Mike Schmidt wrote in a review on the station's Facebook page.
"Your entire company and especially your marketing department should be ashamed of yourselves," echoed Kelly Steward. "You should be as ashamed of yourselves as the Calgary community is of you."
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Despite the backlash, however, the station's hosts are defending their decision to cremate the cash, arguing that it's Calgarians who made the call.
"This city made a conscious decision, and we had to stick with what they said because that's what we said we were going to do," Lindsay told CTV News.
"Everybody that was screaming, 'Why didn't you just give me that money, why didn't you give it to a great cause,' had they won it, I'm willing to bet 99 per cent of them would not have donated the $5,000."
AMP has come under fire for their past promotions, including a Valentine's Day contest that paid for two strangers to get married before flying to see a Miley Cyrus concert in Vancouver.
The fate of the remaining $10,000 is now on the line, with a new edition of the contest beginning today.
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