Scarred for Life

An Xtreme Radio fan proved his loyalty with a tattoo. But the station's commitment was only skin-deep.

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Logo shtick: Hall's stunt won him the title "Xtreme - Global Traveler." - Walter  Novak
Logo shtick: Hall's stunt won him the title "Xtreme Global Traveler."
On the morning of August 3, Scott Hall gazed out a window on the 22nd floor of the Cleveland Courthouse. From that height, he had a good view of Browns Stadium and the mass of people waiting in line for American Idol auditions, hoping to win the new contest. Hall won a contest once. But all he got for his effort was debt and delays. And a bright yellow tattoo on his forearm that says 92.3 Xtreme.

Hall, a 26-year-old graphic-design artist from Delaware, Ohio, sued after the station to which he'd shown extreme loyalty tried to stiff him.

"The contest was called 'Xtremely Xposed,'" says Lunchbox, a WXTM jock at the time of the early 2003 promotion. To win, you had to expose the station's logo to as many people as possible in the most "extreme" fashion. The prize: 12 all-expenses-paid trips to see rock concerts.

Other people might have thought to make up a large banner and wave it in front of the camera at a Cavs game, or decal their car with an advertisement for the station. "One guy painted himself yellow," Lunchbox recalls. Hall, however, decided to brand himself with the station's brand. The morning show sent on-air personality Fazio (this was before Rover's Morning Glory) to the tattoo parlor. There, he gave a play-by-play of events as Hall went under the needle.

"It was probably the ballsiest thing I've ever seen anybody do," says Fazio, who now teaches at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting.

To Hall, it seemed a small price to pay for the reward. "Could you imagine taking a trip a month to see bands all over the world?" That's how Hall says it was promoted on the radio. The tattoo would be a permanent reminder of all the cool places he'd visited and shows he'd seen.

It worked. He was deemed "most extreme." "My title was Xtreme Global Traveler," Hall says proudly.

Stacie Schmidt, who worked in promotions at WXTM at the time, was Hall's travel liaison with the station. But shortly after he won the contest, she became a hard woman to reach. Calls to her personal cell phone went unreturned. "Occasionally, if I'd catch her in the office, I would get, 'Yeah, we're still trying to get something put together for you,'" says Hall. So, he waited. And waited.

January went by, and Hall started to wonder if he'd been played. He says Schmidt eventually did call back in early February to ask if they could send him on two trips that month, since he didn't get one for the month before. He agreed, and was off to Chicago for a Three Doors Down concert. But he was more excited about the next planned trip -- to Australia, for Pearl Jam.

"That kind of got my hopes up," says Hall. "Then I didn't hear anything more from them."

After five months of unreturned calls, he hired Cleveland attorney Roy Morscher. They filed suit against station owner Infinity Broadcasting, Schmidt, and Program Director Kim Monroe.

Then the case met with delays. Schmidt promptly disappeared. "Once we filed this case, they moved her out of the city," Morscher says, referring to Infinity. Morscher requested that she come back to Cleveland for a deposition. He was offered a phone interview instead.

"He started suing us halfway through [the contest]," Schmidt, now at a Las Vegas station, says in an interview. She claims the prize was "12 trips in 12 months," and not "a trip a month."

Karen Mateo, Infinity's director of communications, supports that view. "From my understanding, it was 12 trips in a year. It was never spelled out as one trip a month." By that reasoning, the station could have presented Hall with 11 trips in December.

But Hall had kept a copy of the winner's release he signed for the station. At the top of the form, it spells out: "Xtremely Xposed Trip a Month Grand Prize."

"The whole thing was silly and pointless, in my opinion," says Monroe. She says she was surprised when her name was mentioned in the lawsuit. "I have no bad feelings towards Scott, and I feel bad things got fucked up the way they did. We never had any problems with any of our other contests. I was perfectly willing to give Scott what he won, even if it took a few extra months."

But it was a year and a half before Hall collected his winnings. Sort of. Only an hour after a local attorney representing Infinity, Mathew Beredo, declared, "We don't believe this case has any merit," the station settled with Hall during a pretrial hearing.

Morscher declined to reveal the terms of the settlement, but said, "It was resolved to everyone's satisfaction."

Hall says he'll use some of the money to pay off credit-card bills and some for his upcoming wedding. He has no immediate plans to remove the tattoo, however. "It might be cheaper to just tattoo 'sucks' under '92.3 Xtreme,'" he jokes.

It was a year and a half before Hall collected the rest of his winnings. Sort of.

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