The FCC has upheld a fine issued to a radio station licensee for what it determined was a failure to disclose all the rules of a broadcast contest. The giveaway was of "the Ultimate Garage" and the FCC determined, in response to a complaint, that the station had failed to disclose all of the material rules of the contest on the air. In looking at the many issues cited by the Commission in support of the fine, some are ones that are similar to those in other cases that we’ve written about before, but some are ones that have not been disclosed in other recent FCC fines – including the requirement that stations broadcast the all of the material rules of the contest not just periodically throughout the course of the contest enough so that a reasonable listener will hear the rules, but also the material rules must be announced the first time that the contest is announced to the public.
The Commission found that the licensee here had not disclosed, in either the first announcement about the contest or in enough of the other broadcast announcements that the contest was a "winner take all" contest – where the Ultimate Garage would be awarded to only a single winner. The broadcaster had promoted the contest in both live-read announcements and in a variety of recorded announcements. While certain of the recorded announcements made clear that there was but one garage to be given away, many of the other recorded announcements and the live read announcements tended to refer listeners to the full contest rules on the website, where the rules mistakenly talked about the possibility multiple winners. But that was not the only issue that the FCC saw in the station’s disclosures.