Magic Broadcasting’s WILN-FM in Panama City will have to pay a fine of $125,000 for allegedly recording fake telephone calls for a contest and improper tower lighting.
The Commission received a complaint that the station recorded fake telephone calls with individuals posing as contest participants and aired the previously recorded programming during a voice-tracked afternoon show in 2019.
The Commission says Magic Broadcasting would neither confirm nor deny the allegations and maintains that it has no information indicating the station broadcast the pre-recorded programming identified in the complaint. “Magic Broadcasting has not provided any evidence to rebut the accounts given by the complainant, whose credibility the Bureau has no independent reason to doubt or question.”
The Commission has long enforced the contest laws to prohibit stations from deceiving audiences by failing to fully describe the material terms of contests, or by not conducting contests in accordance with the announced contest rules. With respect to contests of intellectual knowledge, intellectual skill, or chance, section 508 of the Act prohibits a licensee from knowingly deceiving the public by engaging “in any artifice or scheme for the purpose of prearranging or predetermining in whole or in part the outcome of a purportedly bona fide contest . . . of chance.” Concerning contests, section 73.1216 of the Rules requires a licensee to “fully and accurately disclose the material terms” of a contest it broadcasts or advertises, and to conduct the contest “substantially as announced and advertised.” Moreover, no contest description may be false, misleading, or deceptive with respect to any material term.
To resolve the matter, the Bureau and Magic Broadcasting have entered into a Consent Decree and Magic must pay the $125,000 for both the contest matter and the tower lighting matter.