J-105 KJOT-FM Boise ID, owned by Journal Broadcast Corporation, was nailed with an FCC fine for a violation of the contest rules. In this case, the problem was an ambiguous set of announcements, and rules as well, that made it unclear just how many winners there would be.
A number of items were available to be won, in conjunction with contest co-sponsor Stor-Mor Sheds. At a special event held at Stor-Mor’s place of business is where the contest was actually carried out, a series of processes gradually eliminated contestants, in a contest designed to winnow the pool down to one winner-take-all finalist.
A complainant to the FCC said that the contest was rigged to go to a Stor-Mor customer, which both Journal and Stor-Mor flatly denied.
However, the FCC said it was not made at all clear that there would be only one winner. The FCC noted that only two of ten advertisement for the contested hinted at the winner-take-all nature of it, and said the rules as printed left the matter open to interpretation as well, including in various places conflicting terms such as “winners,” “a winner,” “the winner” and “each winner.”
The good news for Journal is that the FCC found no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that the contest was rigged. But the station was hit with a $4K fine nevertheless for the ambiguous contest rules.