ALBANY, N.Y. – A New York City radio station that earlier mocked tsunami (search) victims on the air has agreed to stop its "Smackfest" promotion, in which women slapped each other for prizes, the state attorney general announced Monday.
WQHT Hot 97's parent company also agreed in a settlement to pay $240,000, which equaled the maximum fine it faced, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (search) said.
Spitzer and the state Athletic Commission said the hip-hop and rhythm and blues station held 24 "Smackfest" contests from April 2004 to January 2005. Young women took turns "violently" slapping each other for concert tickets and as much as $5,000 in cash, Spitzer said. Images of the slapping then ran on the station's Web site.
Spitzer investigated the case as a potential violation of state law on promotion of a combative sport.
Indianapolis-based Emmis Radio (search), a division of Emmis Communications, noted in a statement that the contestants were volunteers but said "it was not our finest hour, and New York City deserves better."
WQHT agreed to pay $60,000 of the settlement to a nonprofit group that promotes awareness of domestic violence.
In April, the station was criticized for broadcasting "Tsunami Song," which mocked victims of December's flooding disaster in south Asia that killed tens of thousands. The producer who wrote the song was fired and other station employees were suspended.
Emmis Chairman Jeffrey Smulyan said then that the song was "morally indefensible," adding "the entire Emmis family is ashamed."