The Federal Communications Commission reprimanded a Seattle radio station Friday for failing to tell listeners they could be disqualified from a $10,000 contest for flooding the station with duplicate entries.
At issue was a complaint by Patricia McBride-Nelson, a Seattle real estate broker and mortgage loan officer who had sent in more than 800 entries in a bid to win a contest in which listeners named four songs played in a row without interruption.McBride-Nelson, who was disqualified before last spring's drawing, said she bought an electric typewriter to speed up her entries and listened to KSEA-FM "continuously, sometimes until 2:30 a.m."
"I carried my radio everywhere with me. I called in several times a day to the deejays to confirm song titles that I wasn't sure about," she said.
"I intended to do nothing else until the day of the drawing. I intended to flood the barrel to give me the highest possible odds of winning . . . I was made to feel like a fool for even participating in such an intense degree."
The FCC said the station repeatedly violated federal regulations when it failed to "fully and accurately disclose" rules prohibiting listeners from mailing in duplicate postcards that listed the same set of songs.
The commission decided a formal admonition was sufficient, partly because KSEA offered to compensate the woman for postage and stationery expenses she incurred entering the contest more than 800 times.
Bruce Reese, a lawyer for the radio station's parent company, said the FCC's ruling was appropriate.
"Short of throwing out the complaint, we view this as the lowest rung on the ladder in disciplinary action the commission could give us," Reese said.