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Clear Channel settles in Florida


Clear Channel Communications Inc. will pay $80,000 into a Florida consumer-fraud trust fund after an investigation into its national radio contests.

The office of the state's attorney general, in December 1999, charged the San Antonio-based group owner with deceptive trade practices for failing to inform Florida listeners that some of its radio contests were also running in other states. Multistate contests lower a listener's chances of winning, the AG said. Under a "voluntary compliance agreement" reached last Monday, Clear Channel agreed to run notices-at least on its 73 Florida radio stations-that a contest is multistate. The disclosures will run daily during peak listening hours.

Clear Channel did not return calls seeking comment on whether it will label multistate contests as such in other markets. As part of the Florida settlement, Clear Channel also agreed to disclose the city and state where a contest winner lives and not to alter interviews with winners. According to Florida Assistant Attorney General Stephen Iglasias, a local DJ's voice was being dubbed over the voice of an out-of-state DJ, making it sound like the out-of-state winner was local.

The multistate contests have garnered media attention in other markets, including Cincinnati, and Iglasias said he had received a call for more information from the attorney general of Arkansas.