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.”