Saturday, February 9, 2008

Penguin mascot in lawsuit

Channel 4's SnowBird has been notifying Tennessee and Kentucky children about school closings for over 25 years.

This penguin began his television career in the form of an inanimate, colorful cut-out that squawked out the phrase, "No school!" From such humble beginnings, the bird took flight.

During his long career, SnowBird has appeared in a year-long "Word from SnowBird" public service series, starred in three Christmas specials, and hosted children's programs about sportsmanship and self-esteem. These efforts have earned the Bird numerous awards, including regional Emmy awards.

Not many penguins can boast of a past like that. But Channel 4's SnowBird refuses to rest on his reputation. As long as there are children and snowfalls, the future is bright for this bird.

But not if Paul Truitt of Hendersonville can help it.

He says that the ice cream truck-style jingle that accompanies promotional spots for WSMV-Channel 4’s mascot SnowBird, is a “cancer on my eardrum.”

Truitt has sued the television station after the penguin ditty became stuck in his head for more than a month, he says, resulting in the need for a doctor visit and a prescription for sleeping pills.

“They know that this song has the power to drive people to distraction, yet year after year, they broadcast it hundreds of times, especially targeting children,” Truitt says. “It just got to the point where it was driving me nuts. I was waking up in the morning with that squeaky little ding-dong tune going in my brain.”

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