Penguin of Doom 

Man sues WSMV over Snowbird theme distress

The ice cream truck-style jingle that accompanies promotional spots for WSMV-Channel 4’s mascot Snowbird has been a part of the aural landscape of Middle Tennessee for more than two decades. To some, it’s a friendly, inoffensive bit of musical filler. But to Paul Truitt of Hendersonville, it’s a “cancer on my eardrum.”
The ice cream truck-style jingle that accompanies promotional spots for WSMV-Channel 4’s mascot Snowbird has been a part of the aural landscape of Middle Tennessee for more than two decades. To some, it’s a friendly, inoffensive bit of musical filler.

But to Paul Truitt of Hendersonville, it’s 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.”

Pruitt says he’s doing better now, but in discussing his case with friends, he’s discovered that he’s not alone in his distress.

“It seems like half the people I talk to have gotten that damn song stuck in their heads. I tell you, it’s intentional infliction of emotional harm. That jingle is evil.”

Naturally, the management at Channel 4 views the situation differently.

“We’re sorry for Mr. Pruitt’s discomfort, but the whole point of a jingle is to be memorable and catchy,” says a station source, who adds, “We don’t consider Snowbird’s theme to be evil at all.”

Pruitt says there’s a chance his suit could become a class action if enough Snowbird-distressed viewers come forward, and adds he fears what WSMV may do if not stopped.

“Winters are so warm now, there’s almost never any snow to report on,” he points out. “So, what if they come up with something like ‘Sunbird,’ a global-warming penguin to report on drought and heat during the summer? God only knows the damage a second penguin theme could do.”

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