On her way to work last Monday morning, Christina Buck says she was accosted by two strange men. She'd just stepped off a bus from Capitol Hill to South Lake Union when two guys approached her and another woman who'd been on the bus.

"These two men ran up to us and started asking us questions, saying they were in some K-Rock [radio] scavenger hunt," Buck says. Buck kept walking, while the men asked the other woman a question: Were her boobs real or fake? A minute later, the men were asking her the same thing.

"He said, 'I hate to ask this, but are those real or fake?'" she says. "I gave him the finger." Buck was pissed that the stranger had asked her such an obnoxious question. The guys were wearing T-shirts from K-Rock 96.5 "alternative rock" radio, she says, and were apparently participating in a morning-show listener contest. The details of the contest are fuzzy--like what else was on the 'hunt,' and what contestants could win--since the station hasn't returned any calls from The Stranger.

K-Rock, which launched last December as a "classic alternative" station, has been going head-to-head against 107.7 The End, another alternative station. But since the competition heated up, The End has been sticking to its new slogan--"It's About the Music"--promoting highbrow commentary on music from bands like Modest Mouse, while K-Rock has leaned toward promoting gags and contests. The morning program, led by Andy Savage (who was The End's morning host last year), recently sponsored a Survivor-style contest that stuck several listeners in an RV for 10 days, to do stunts like licking bugs off a windshield. The station also runs an e-mail list, K-Spam, that promises "contests designed exclusively for K-Spam members that we won't even talk about on the air!"

The scavenger hunt last Monday wasn't listed on K-Rock's website, but Buck--who doesn't listen to K-Rock, opting for indie KEXP instead--suspects it was a K-Spam contest. Before she could get to her office, she was approached two more times by scavengers: "I said, 'I've already been accosted by you people, so leave me alone!'"

It's not that she's a square--Buck, a 32-year-old who's lived in Seattle for two years, used to work in the music industry in New York City, so she understands music promotion. But she thinks the K-Rock contest went overboard. "I realize there's a sex, drugs, and rock and roll mentality, but it shouldn't have to be pointed out to people that asking women on the street if their tits are fake or real is not cool," Buck says. She posted a tirade on the web forum for the women's music magazine ROCKRGRL, asking women to call the station to complain. She also left messages for the K-Rock program director, Jim Trapp, and a woman at K-Rock's New York-based parent company, Infinity Broadcasting. Buck says Trapp left a "condescending" message in return, saying "he heard me, but could not go back in his 'way-back machine' to change what had happened," Buck says. The New York representative told Buck the company's legal department would get back to her. They haven't called her, or The Stranger.


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