Tax hike vote will not get you Fergie, Fighting Sioux or more sex

Most morning shows on commercial radio should never be taken too seriously, but apparently an election in Grand Forks, N.D., could be influenced by a satirical, if juvenile, bit by a local radio station’s shock jocks.

Part of the problem, perhaps, is the gullibility of listeners.

Grand Forks voters next week will decide whether to increase the sales tax from 1.75 to 2.25 percent.

The Grand Forks Herald reports the local radio jocks created a phony “ad” in support of the idea that promised that if voters approved, the University of North Dakota would bring back the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, a Fergie concert would be held in Grand Forks, and people would get more sex.

Some people — one, anyway — complained, the Herald says.

In a letter to the editor emailed on Thursday morning, local voter Laurie Hollifield accused the pro-sales tax campaign of juvenile, immature behavior. She referenced what she said she’d heard on KNOX in what she believed was a genuine, if cheeky, advertisement supporting the sales tax.

“What intelligent human being would state that raising the sales tax would bring back the Sioux nickname and logo? Or a Fergie concert? Or promise that there will be more NOONERS?” she wrote in a Thursday email, describing an apparent sexual reference. “As a retired high school teacher, I can state that teenagers have more courtesy and common sense.”

In a phone interview Thursday afternoon, Hollifield confirmed the details of her letter and, upon learning the advertisement was not part of the sales tax campaign, voiced her displeasure with the broadcaster—though she said she’s still a “no” on the sales tax proposal.

“Why would KNOX even run something so distasteful?” she said.

“We are very disappointed in this attempt by local talk radio hosts to use blatant disinformation in their attempt to undermine our campaign to pass the proposed city sales tax,” said the head of the local Chamber of Commerce, which supports the tax increase. “We believe these actions cross the line between providing entertainment and responsible use of the public airwaves.”

“The region turns to KNOX not only for news and our great local talk shows, but also for the hot topics with differing opinions and important issues,” Michael Brooks, general manager of KNOX with Leighton Broadcasting, told the Herald. “Reference to a free concert along with a pro football team was intended only as humor, fun and completely satire. We sincerely apologize if anyone mistook our message as anything other than humorous entertainment.”

  • BJ

    >“Why would KNOX even run something so distasteful?” she said.

    In the age of outrageous promises and words by actual politicians I guess people don’t know truth, disinformation, and satire are different, but not that much any more.

  • wjc

    //”…We sincerely apologize if anyone mistook our message as anything other than humorous entertainment.”

    Read: “We sincerely don’t apologize for anything. If you mistook our message, it’s your problem. We’re having a laugh.”

    • jon

      Hhmmm I read it as
      “We are so so sorry you are unable to recognize satire.”

      But to be fair given the things that are not being said as satire on websites related to my town (things like expanding schools to deal with current and projected over crowding (given the new housing development that just went in) are just a way to funnel money to union labor, and union labor funnels money to the democrats…. or that saying $72 per household is dis-honest because it’s really 1.9 million dollars! (which if you can do math is about $72 per household per year… or $6 a month per household…) or that this is ANOTHER school referendum already, you’ve got to be kidding me! (the last one was 18 years ago))

      I can get how satire can be mistaken for what some on really feels is true… because increasingly it seems like people will believe (and repeat) anything they want to believe, with complete disregard for reality, so long as it supports an opinion they already held.

  • Gary F

    Marilyn didn’t fall for it. I bet she still chuckles when she says his last name.

  • Lindsey

    How do you pay for anything with a 1.75 percent sales tax? Seems like you should just increase some other tax and get rid of the sales tax.

    • Ben Chorn

      See Montana: No sales tax and really high property taxes.

      Every time a sales tax would be brought up people would be against it, but then still complain about high property taxes. I don’t understand letting tourists use infrastructure, etc. and not think they should be taxed (instead of upping the taxes on residents).

  • Al

    And here I thought the Nooners were going to be the new UND mascot.

    • RBHolb

      If not actually an academic major.

      • X.A. Smith

        There’s not much else to do in Grand Forks. I hear they’ve got a pretty good Olive Garden, though.

  • RBHolb

    Maybe this is not the time for that kind of satire. We live in a day and age when an obviously false story about a child sex ring in a pizza restaurant can get endless circulation, and prompt an armed man to show up to investigate.

  • Jack Ungerleider

    I’m guessing Mr. Brooks, general manager is not a local. While we know that some college teams seem like pro teams to refer to the Fighting Sioux as a pro football team might endanger the scholarships of its hard working student-athletes.

  • Guest

    “A chicken in every pot”
    “We will change the name of Lake Calhoun”
    “Build a stadium and prosperity will follow…..Just kidding about that taxpayer approval needed”
    We will …… fill in any blank It all is reasonable to somebody…..sigh 🙁