CBS station nailed for contest violation


CBS RadioA contest held by CBS Radio’s WBAV-FM in Charlotte was hampered by the failure to align pertinent dates broadcast over the air with those posted on-line. Although CBS says it was a harmless error with no effect on results, the FCC has hit it with a notice of apparent liability.

The contest was called Carolina Cuties – it encouraged fans of the station to submit photographs of their babies. Members of the station’s audience voted on which was the cutest, and a grand prize was presented to the winner.

Over the air, the contest was said to run until 9/5/11 and the winner announced 9/6/11.
Online, it was said that the winner would be announced 9/4/11, implying that voting was cut off before the 5th.

A contestant complained that the contest was not run as advertised, and that the confusion created by the clashing dates materially damaged the complainant’s baby’s chances of winning.
CBS said that it was an inadvertent staff error, that votes were accepted through 9/5/11 as advertised over the air, and that the error had no impact whatsoever on the results of the contest.

However, to the FCC, a discrepancy is a discrepancy is a discrepancy. The result: A $10K fine.