Clear Channel’s Nipplegate

Four Clear Channel Communications-owned radio stations have earned the wrath of women’s health advocates for offering breast enlargement surgeries to 13 women in a contest dubbed the “Breast Christmas Ever.”

The National Research Center for Women & Families and the National Organization for Women are urging supporters to file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission against Clear Channel and its stations.

The radio conglomerate counters that it had no oversight of the contest and didn’t sponsor it, according to CCC spokeswoman Jennifer Gery.

“There is no reason to be concerned because it’s not a Clear Channel-sponsored contest, Gery said. “We empower our local manager to make programming decisions.”

Somebody has to sign the checks, though. According to a survey of American Board of Plastic Surgery practitioners, breast augmentation surgery costs an average of about $6,000. All told, the price tag for the 13 “prizes” would clock in at about $80,000.

While neither women’s group is alleging the breast surgery contest violated decency standards, they do charge it promotes potentially dangerous surgery and leaves winners with no legal remedies should the surgery go awry. Under the rules, winners must be at least 18 and sign a waiver protecting the company from all liability claims.

“I try not to be judgmental about whether a large radio station should be giving away free toys to children instead of free breast augmentation,” said Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women & Families, a health advocacy organization.

NOW is urging the public to send e-mails to Clear Channel and the FCC to complain about what it considers a “degrading and unethical contest.” As of January 3rd, about 3,400 messages had been sent, NOW said.

The contest aired on stations in Tampa and Jacksonville, Fla., St. Louis and Detroit.