Yesterday afternoon a local (alternative music) radio station stirred up quite the bee’s nest for itself.  It all started with one simple tweet.

1077theend

Shortly after this was sent the account came under a ton of heat for the statement.  The author of the tweet stayed around long enough to defend the statement to many of those who challenged it then  went to bed ending the event with a tweet stating, well…have a look at the whole shenanigan yourself:

1077TheEnd-1077TheEnd-on-Twitter

I am all for brands expressing their “personality” online.  That’s great.  That is a critical part of social media.  What doesn’t make sense is that this type of a statement is not in alignment with their typical personality and stands out as culturally insensitive at the very least.  They are not a shock-jock kind of station but they certainly have tweeted about non-music related content in the past.

Using a branded account such as this one to make such a politically charged and insensitive statement is, well, all kinds of messed up.  They’ve found themselves with a bit of a hot mess in their lap.  With the twitter-verse all lined up and ready to point fingers most of the station’s staff are on vacation as reported by TechFlash.

Their PR agency (corrected by Monti in comments below)  corporate owner, Entercom, has not issued any kind of statement on this incident either.  The only existing apology or redaction on the part of 107.7 TheEnd came in the form of a tweet that read:

We abhor last nights twitter hacking. The End brand in no way condones the comments and apologizes. Pswrd & security measures changed.

So.  You were hacked.  Really?  REALLY?  I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I actually believe this.  If I am wrong, then I will be eating crow later and that’s fine.  It is what it is.  I will say that everything about this feels wrong.  Even if they were hacked I would expect to have heard something about it on their radio show this morning.  Nope.  I would have expected to see an apology on their blog.  Nope.  Own it.  Look at your mistake as an opportunity to be transparent with your community.  Be HONEST about what happened.

The Stranger also posted an article with some interesting points on this topic.  Including the fact that the “hacker” was allowed to tweet for 4 days before the problem was addressed.

The unfortunate part is this is not the first time we have seen them act irresponsibly in the online space.  Kristin Marshall went round with them about a click fraud incident in a contest earlier this year.  Their response to that wasn’t, shall we say, “impressive” either.  107.7 TheEnd has shown a lack of understanding and irresponsibility in this space.  From here they can do a few different things.  1) Ignore it and hope it goes away, 2) attempt at a proper response *taps foot* or 3) Get pissy.

I am not alone in thinking that this ‘hack’ is an excuse.  If it is not, then I apologize for suggesting otherwise.  But the fact of the matter still stands – the statement was a gross display and a proper apology and deserved attention needs to be exerted on this incident immediately.  If it was indeed a ‘hack’ then I’d suggest getting a stronger hold on your security measures.  (Also a side note I suppose, I was not aware hackers favored Tweetie.  Hmm.. so using 107.7 The End’s logic: All hackers are Tweetie users, but not all Tweetie users are hackers.  Is that right?)  Okay – so that was a bit of a pot shot…the point is, hack or not this could be (and hopefully will be) handled far better.  Step up your game Mr. Radio Station.  This is not helping your uphill climb for survival.

—UPDATED—

SeattleWeekly has since updated their post.  Mark Kaplan, the program director, stands by the fact that the account was hacked by either someone who was able to get a hold of the password information or straight up hacked into the open account.  Either way, he says they were hacked.  So.  There it is.  Fine.  They were hacked. Still not convinced.  But whatevs.

I still have a problem with the fact that this person was able to maintain access to the account for four days. Social media doesn’t get vacations.  Social media doesn’t take a holiday.  Social media doesn’t even sleep in on Christmas morning.  Sorry.   Do I feel bad this happened to them? Yes.  But I also think this is why it is important to learn social media rather than just fumbling your way into it.  You have a brand in your hands. An entire brand. Act accordingly.