New Vision Television’s CBS KOIN-TV in Portland OR believes circumstances dictated that a contest in which the lucky winner was to receive a man cave makeover be abandoned. The FCC believes differently, and they’ve agreed, conditionally, to disagree.
The case was brought before the FCC by a person who was declared the winner of the contest, only to see it unravel with no prize awarded. The FCC fielded the complaint 2/2/10.
The winner was determined by popular vote, and according to KOIN, a contestant other than the complainant used a vote-generating computer program in an attempt to skew results in his own favor.
The station determined that this invalidated the voting results, and it decided to cancel the contest and not award any prizes.
The FCC and KOIN agreed not to invest in a lengthy proceeding to determine if KOIN violated the contest rules or not; instead they adopted a consent decree.
Under the terms of the decree, New Vision will instruct its employees on the proper procedures for conducting broadcast contests; it will develop a compliance manual; it will report to the FCC on its progress; and it will make a voluntary contribution of $4K to the US Treasury.
New Vision avoids being found in violation of any FCC rules.
RBR-TVBR observation: A consent decree is worth pursuing if there is any ambiguity at all in a possible FCC violation. It is simply a good idea to keep as clean a file at the This is especially true since there is always a chance there will be a non-ambiguous violation in a station’s future.
There are numerous ways a station can slip up and none are immune, from the smallest student-run low power outlet to the most super-charged big market mega-group station.
The FCC has been known to work with violators who have a history of compliance with FCC rules – and that generally means a violation file that is completely empty.
So it’s just a good idea to keep it empty for as long as you can, and forever if possible.