Monday, June 15, 2015


This isn’t the first case that a radio station prank contest went this way. According to the FCC, in 1999 102.1 KPRR in El Paso held a crooked contest. They told listeners that if they called in and answered a 10 question quiz correctly,  they would win “10,000.” One caller did call in and answer all the questions correctly.  The general manager of KPRR then informed her the number referred to Italian lira, not American dollars. The difference at the time was $9,947. She was a bit peeved. More here.

Our nameless winner received a check for 53 dollars from KPRR-FM. The FCC sent them a notice explaining that this was a violation of Section 73.1216 of the Commission's rules. These require licensees, to fully and accurately disclose material terms of a contest. Clear Channel claimed that this didn't apply because “the station never stated ‘on the air’ that it was giving away ten thousand dollars.”  Clear Channels further added to their defense that the complete rules for the contest were on their website. These did state that the prize was 10,000 Italian lira, not dollars.

The FCC rejected that line of reasoning, because it was utter bullshit. Clear channel was summarily fined $4,000. I think we can all see how that math fails on a couple levels. Interestingly that $4,000 goes to the Federal government. The unnamed woman in the complaint gets nothing from that judgement. She has to file a civil suit against Clear channel to get her $10,000. Good luck with that.