Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson
Wow. The FCC just fined a radio station $4,000 for getting a date wrong in some radio contest rules. If that infraction is worth four grand, whatever will the FCC do to the station which killed someone because it failed to give contestants any rules at all?
Will the FCC find that such a 'murder-by-radio' did not, in fact, serve the "public interest" which broadcasters are supposed to uphold in exchange for their free license to use our public airwaves?
DJs at Nassau Broadcasting's WWEG-FM, "106.9 The Eagle" in Myerson, MD, had broadcast rules that a Father's Day contest would be open "through June 13, 2008." But the contest actually ended June 12, apparently depriving would-be contestants of their right to enter. Two years later, the FCC is punishing WWEG for violation of Section 73.1216 of the Commission's rules, which state that broadcast licensees must "fully and accurately disclose the material terms" of any contests that it conducts, and "conduct the contest substantially as announced or advertised."
Okay. Let's now contrast that swift accountability in the public's interest, against what happened when Sacramento's Entercom Communications station, KDND, the unfortunately nicknamed "107.9 The End", didn't follow its own rules when it ran a water drinking contest which resulted in the January 2007 death of a mother of three, Jennifer Strange. This is a case where a jury found the station liable for Strange's death, awarding her family more than $16 million, even as the corporation who has been granted the broadcast license has yet to face a single sanction from the FCC…