Radio station fined for cash hoax

The FCC has charged a Pittsburgh radio station a $6000 fine for a Thanksgiving day hoax in which the station told listeners they were giving away one-million dollars to the thirteenth caller. There wasn't actually any money, but they kept one guy on hold for 45 minutes, making him believe he had won.

I can see the FCC's point. A million-dollar prize isn't something that's inherently unbelievable. So for the radio station to claim it had the money when it didn't isn't exactly an amusing hoax. It's more like a blatant lie.


Posted on Fri Feb 06, 2009


I ran into a lot of trouble with various managements when I was a wacky morning drive radio DJ, but I wouldn't have DREAMED of faking a money giveaway. That just SCREAMS "lawsuit" and "FCC trouble."

I'm just surprised the fine was only $6000.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Feb 07, 2009  at  01:45 AM
too bad it was from Pittsburgh!
Posted by bookwoman  on  Sat Feb 07, 2009  at  12:19 PM
$6000? Bull. They should be forced to pay the prize in full, even if it means auctioning off their license.
Posted by Goober  on  Sat Feb 07, 2009  at  02:08 PM
I'm with Goober; rather than give the money to the government, they should just be forced to pay the guy his prize.
Posted by Joe  on  Sat Feb 07, 2009  at  03:14 PM
Remember that the FCC fine doesn't preclude the "winner" from suing them for the million dollars. They could still be on the hook for the megabucks.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Feb 07, 2009  at  06:57 PM
Yes as CMG stated the FCC is fining for the action, but the payment of the prize money is a civil matter and must be pursued through a lawsuit.
Posted by Tim  on  Sun Feb 08, 2009  at  07:05 PM
Pfft, a measly million dollars? I've got 3, count 'em, 3! Nigerian princes each trying to give me 20 times that much!
Posted by Vitajex  on  Mon Feb 09, 2009  at  02:20 PM
Even though it was just a blatant lie, I'd be willing to bet money that at least one journalist has referred to this as "an elaborate hoax".
Posted by JoeDaJuggler  on  Mon Feb 09, 2009  at  02:55 PM
I am inclined to believe all giveaways like lotteries and this are in fact deceptions, and using the Aspartame arguments, I can prove it conclusively.

Have you ever found anyone who has benefitted from such a thing? And, who, on close investigation, has not recieved money from the very peopel who are making the claim that the lottery is legitemate? How can you believe people who are being paid to say something?

Yeah, I'm getting sick of the alternative health people . . . The local bunch want iodien taken out of salt, as it doesn't seem to be doing anything and is a dangerous poison.
Posted by D F Stuckey  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  03:29 PM
"Even though it was just a blatant lie, I'd be willing to bet money that at least one journalist has referred to this as 'an elaborate hoax'."

On more than one occasion when I was involved in a hoax which fooled a media outlet, said outlet would refer to the hoax (after it was revealed) in such a way as to imply that it was akin to the Ocean's Eleven caper. I mean, they're such crack journalists that it takes a virtual ARMY to put one over on them.

If they only knew...
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Feb 14, 2009  at  01:45 AM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.