Monday, April 10, 2017

FCC Ends "Wee" Contesting Tussle

With a three-page order, FCC Chief Administrative Law Judge Richard Sippel has brought to a close an eight-year ordeal for Entercom.

InsideRadio reports Sippel says the company “willingly accepted the severest penalty” when it agreed to surrender the license for Sacramento’s KDND (107.9) and pay the legal fees incurred by activists who targeted the station for its ill-fated 2007 “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest which led to the death of one of its contestants.

Entercom last month asked the FCC to approve its settlement to cover the $35,000 spent by the Media Action Center (MAC) on legal fees and other expenses to challenge the company during the past decade. The two parties said the deal would “speed the resolution of, and bring finality to, the disputes between them—without the need for the expenditure of additional time and resources.”

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau wasn’t part of the negotiations but it threw its support behind the proposal according to agency filings.

The deal with the Media Action Center came just weeks after Entercom abruptly announced it would voluntarily turn in the license for KDND rather than press forward with a fight to renew it. Its fate was in doubt after the Media Bureau last October threw the decision of whether to grant a new license term into what amounts to a trial setting. The Commission said the contest, during which contestant Jennifer Strange, 28, died, “raised serious questions” as to whether the company operated KDND in the public interest during its most recent license term.

In the aftermath, some 10 KDND employees lost their jobs.

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