KDKA gets away with $6K for $1M joke


When KDKA Pittsburgh talent Marty Griffin announced that the 13th lucky caller would win $1M dollars already at the CBS Radio-owned station and hand-cuffed to a person in the studio, a lucky caller was informed that he was indeed lucky #13. Then came 43 minutes on hold, some questions about Thanksgiving, and a disconnect. No staffer. No handcuffs. No briefcase filled with $1M. Griffin later told the complainant that he was “the only person in the area who didn’t get the joke.” The FCC didn’t find it very funny, either, and fined the station $6K for essentially running a bogus contest.

RBR/TVBR observation: This apparently was an improvised incident, but it points out the hazards of not properly respecting a station’s audience. Simply put, it is not good policy to make chumps out of your P1s. The FCC did not require that the station make restitution to its victim, but it should do something to make amends of its own accord.