Fisher agrees to decree after radio contest caper


Fisher CommunicationsIt is against the on-air contest rules to do anything whatsoever that may affect the outcome, and although Fisher Broadcasting’s KVI-AM Seattle feels it is one of the victims in the case at hand, the contest did air on its slice of spectrum. The company and the FCC have taken the consent decree route to resolve the situation.

KVI ran a contest from 2/6/07 through 3/30/07. During an audit at the end of the year, it discovered that the contest may have been manipulated by a former employee, who placed certain names on a list of those to be mentioned on air and thus become potential contest winners. Further, it was believed that they would then share winning with the ex-employee.

Fisher reported the matter both to the Seattle police and the FCC.

According to the FCC, “Fisher contends that it was unaware of the former employee’s actions until after she had left the Station’s employ, that it was an unwitting victim in this situation, and that it alerted the Commission and law enforcement once it determined what had happened.”

The FCC took this into account in agreeing to a consent decree, along with Fisher’s excellent record of compliance with FCC rules.

The advantage for the licensee in a consent decree is that it admits to no wrong-doing, and is not charged with any wrong-doing. In this case, as in most, Fisher will come up with a compliance plan and training program, and will be put on reporting conditions.

It will also make a voluntary contribution to the US Treasury of $7K. And in the nuanced language favored in both the legal and bureaucratic worlds, being allowed to call the $7K a contribution rather than a fine is a very good thing.