WIP whipped with $4K fine


Actually, CBS’s Philadelphia AM WIP was rewhipped, since it was protesting an assessment of a fine for a contest rule violation. The station was charged with penalizing a contestant over a matter that wasn’t clearly stated in the contest rules. At issue was the opportunity to compete in a popular local eating contest.

The FCC, in fact, summarily dismissed CBS’s petition for reconsideration since it did not show “…material error or omission in the original order or raise additional facts not known or existing until after the petitioner’s last opportunity to present such matters…” The Commission found CBS’s arguments to be a simple rehashing of earlier comments.

The Commission did offer to provide further clarification for its ruling on CBS’s grounds for requesting reconsideration. CBS argued that its contest rules only pertained to people in the station’s coverage area, and since the complainant in question was from beyond those boundaries, the person did not have standing to complain.

The FCC explained that CBS had misinterpreted the thrust of the rule. It is not to protect locals, it is to protect anybody from being lured into bogus contest. Without open standing, the station would be free to do whatever it pleased, so long as it made sure ALL contestants were from outside the station’s coverage area.

The FCC did agree that generally, in matters of license renewal or indecency, local standing is a requirement. But it again said that is not the case when complaining about a contest.

The FCC ordered the station to fork over the $4K.