WIYY-FM is fined for violating FCC lottery rules

May 08, 1992|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

98 Rock played the lottery, and lost $2,500.

The album rock station, also known as WIYY-FM, was recently fined that amount by the Federal Communications Commission for promoting a lottery, according to Roger Holberg, an attorney for the FCC's complaints and investigations branch.

Under commission rules and a provision in federal law, broadcasting some types of lottery information is prohibited, he said.

The promotion that 98 Rock aired for a Super Bowl party at Balls The All American Sports Bar downtown violated those rules, he said. In January 1990, the station ran spots advertising an event in which patrons paid $20 for food, beverages, entertainment and entry in a random drawing, he said.

Three elements made it a lottery: There was a prize determined by chance and consideration paid to promoters, he said. The fine for such an offense is usually $6,250, but the station received a lesser penalty because it voluntarily disclosed the incident, which occurred over less than a week.

The station has 30 days to respond to an FCC letter sent April 20, Mr. Holberg said. Ed Kiernan, general manager for the station, declined to say whether 98 Rock would contest the fine but said: "We're still talking to them about this. It's not a done deal."

The fine is not likely to have a long-term effect on 98 Rock. "It's a regular type of violation. . . . We're not looking at revoking any license in this case," said Mr. Holberg.

Tom Taylor, managing editor of Inside Radio, a daily trade newsletter, said: "On the cosmic scale of things, this is a very small blip. . . . It's an occasional reminder to radio stations to be vigilant. The lightness of the fine is an indication that the FCC was not lowering the boom."

WIYY, which has long been one of the most popular stations in the area, is owned by the Hearst Broadcasting Group. It ranked sixth in the most recent Arbitron ratings.

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