Lawsuit

Cumulus Media is being accused of shady dealings regarding a national contest about which two participants have filed a massive class action lawsuit. Filed Aug. 17 in the Eastern District of New York, it says succinctly, “This case is about a deceptive sweepstakes.”

While national contests have become prevalent in radio, plaintiffs Robert Doyle of New Jersey and Kevin McCabe of New York claim that Cumulus’ talk WABC (770) “sought to induce people to believe that (its) radio station sweepstakes involves only the station to which a given person is listening, whereas the sweepstakes instead involves hundreds of radio stations, the result of which is that the odds of winning have been a fraction of what the odds have appeared to be.”

According to court documents obtained by Inside Radio, Cumulus operated a number of sweepstakes titled “$1,000 Giveaway” from Sept. 24, 2017 to Nov. 10, 2017, then March 29, 2018, to May 23, 2018, and third, from July 19, 2018 “through the commencement of this action” on “approximately 273 to 372” Cumulus stations.

The 12-page class action suit represents some 50,000 station listeners, whom the plaintiffs say are relevant to “all persons who obtained, or will obtain, while in New York or New Jersey, a sweepstakes keyword from the broadcast of a participating radio station and texted, or will text, that keyword to the designated telephone number before the announcement, on the same station, of the next keyword.”

The clincher: “None of the Sweepstakes Stations have broadcasted, at any time, a statement that the winner of a Sweepstakes Segment would be selected from persons who had obtained the Keyword from among multiple Sweepstakes Stations” and thus, “The likelihood that an entrant in a Sweepstakes Segment would be a winner has been a fraction of what that likelihood would have been if the Sweepstakes Segment had been conducted solely by the Cumulus Station from which the entrant had obtained the Keyword.”

The suit demands $50 per violation, injunctive relief against future violations, and reasonable legal fees.