A pair of network affiliates in the Chico-Redding CA DMA conducted a contest in which the winner was to receive a wedding as the top prize. However, a local gang got involved and the stations determined that they could not award to prize to the winners without endangering public safety. They ultimately awarded the wedding to the runners-up, changing the rules of the contest and funning afoul of the rules and regulations.
The stations are Catamount Broadcasting’s CBS KHSL and Chico License LLC’s NBC KNVN, which Catamount oversees under terms of a shared services agreement.
Although the stations did not feel they could safely give the prize to the true winners, they did try to give the winners a substitute prize.
The FCC noted that the attempts to mitigate the rule breaking, along with a history of compliance, induced it to enter into the consent decree rather than hit the stations with a notice of apparent liability.
Each licensee will come up with a compliance plan, will be on reporting conditions with the FCC, and each will make a voluntary $3K contribution to the US Treasury, for a total of $6K.
RBR-TVBR observation: In an LMA situation, even though Catamount was the company who had hands-on control of the contest in question, the licensee for the station in the SSA is responsible for that station’s $3K treasury contribution. Ultimate responsibility for the relationship between a station and the FCC always always always resides with the licensee.