Jim Carnegie at RBR reports: Clear Channel's WKSS-FM Hartford has been hit with a 4K dollar Notice of Apparent Liability for failure to fully and accurately specify the details of a contest.
The station was running a game called "I Do Island" which pitted five brides-to-be against one another in a contest inspired by TV's "Survivor" reality series. The contestants spent a week at center court of a local shopping mall, with one voted out daily. The winner was to receive a "wedding package" which included dresses, rings, a honeymoon package and other items. The winner said that she was put off for over three months when trying to collect her prizes, and that when she finally did, they were worth only about 20K, not the 35K she said had been broadcast as the package value. WKSS said in a flawed response to the FCC that they only offered a 30K package, then in a corrected response, said that the value was never broadcast. Both the bride and WKSS agreed that the written rules of the contest said 30K.
WKSS eventually gave the bride a 5K cash settlement. Nonetheless, the FCC said that failure to accurately describe the value on the prize constituted a violation of the rules, with or without a settlement with the aggrieved bride.
Also today, in FMQB: A Kentucky woman is suing WLTO (Hot 102)/Lexington after a prize she won from the station turned out to be a Nestle's 100 Grand candy bar, and not $100,000 as she had believed. Court documents posted on TheSmokingGun.com show that in the lawsuit, Norreasha Gill claims she was listening to WLTO on the evening of May 25 when DJ Slick announced that he would award "100 Grand" to the tenth caller. Gill was that tenth caller, and she was told she could pick up her prize the following day. Imagine her surprise (and utter disappointment) when she went to the studio and found that the contest was a joke and she had simply won a chocolate bar... and not the cash.Gill is suing the station's parent company, Cumulus Media, for breach of contract. The suit states that "representations were made with intent to cheat, defraud, and play a malicious joke upon the plaintiff before the entire listening audience, due to her reasonable reliance upon the on air representations of DJ Slick." Her lawsuit seeks the $100,000 prize plus interest and punitive damages.
In case you missed the memo too: contests and promotions need to make folks more loyal to us and brand the station positively in terms of the values we stand for, not just 'find 'em, fool 'em and forget 'em'.
Always, always, always have written rules which disclose those 'material terms.' That way, everyone stays nice and friendly - before, during and after every promotion.
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