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Texas Stations Fined for Violations of FCC’s On-Air Contest Rule

The FCC has fined two Texas radio stations at opposite ends of the state for violations of the commission’s contest rule.

In each instance, the FCC cited the station for “apparently failing to conduct its radio contest substantially as announced or advertised.”

Gow Media LLC, licensee of KFNC-FM Mont Belvieu, was fined $5,200. Townsquare Media of El Paso, Inc., licensee of KSII-FM El Paso, was fined $6,000.   

Attorney David Oxenford with TAB Associate member law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer said the stations ran afoul of the commission’s contest rule because the prize winner was not awarded a prize in a timely manner. 

In both cases, Oxenford said, “the prizes were not provided to winners even after the winners inquired, and, for one reason or another, the stations did not immediately respond to the prize winner to resolve the issue – instead providing substitute prizes only when FCC complaints were filed.”

Oxenford noted that although the prize winners “appeared satisfied by the substitute prizes and withdrew their complaints, the FCC nevertheless issued the fines finding that the contests had not been conducted as promised, in that the original prizes were not awarded on a timely basis.”

These two Texas radio station fines “serve as a warning to broadcasters to review their contest rules,” said Oxenford. 

He implored stations to “make sure that station staff understand that, if an unexpected glitch arises, they should not dawdle in working to resolve those issues.”

Oxenford’s review of these two cases and his thoughts on achieving compliance with the FCC’s contest rule may be found here.

Legal questions? 
Turn to TAB for free expert advice on routine legal questions on FCC regulations, advertising disclosures, tax concerns and newsroom issues.

TAB retains top law firms in Austin, Dallas, Houston and DC to secure answers for member stations, saving them thousands in legal costs. 

Members also have 24/7 online access to a wide range of legal guides and answers to frequently asked questions.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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