KARN Accused of Fraud for Weak Signal

Citadel Broadcasting Co., owner of KARN-FM, 102.9, in Little Rock, is facing a lawsuit for alleged fraud and deceptive trade practice in Pulaski County Circuit Court for failing to tell advertisers that its broadcast area shrank because of damage to its transmitter.

Custom Satellite Solutions Inc. of Little Rock, a satellite television service reseller, initiated the lawsuit July 14.
Little Rock attorney Bruce McMath, who is representing Custom Satellite in the lawsuit, told Outtakes that KARN’s transmitting tower was damaged in early October and that its transmission power had dropped from 50,000 watts to only 2,500 watts.
KARN did not notify its advertisers of the drastic reduction in service, McMath said, so Custom Satellite continued to pay for advertising that it believed was being broadcast to a larger audience at 50,000 watts.

A postal employee alerted Custom Satellite to the fact that, in many places, KARN was no longer on the air, McMath said.

McMath’s client paid for advertising from October through December while getting reduced broadcasting, he said.

Custom Satellite is suing for more than $75,000 in compensation for being overcharged for service, plus punitive damages and legal expenses.

“Our claim is for the value of the bills he paid, for which he didn’t actually get the services which were implied and also because he wasn’t informed of the fact that they went off the air. So we’re asking for both types of damages, lost business and recompense for lost services they didn’t render, and punitive damages,” McMath said.

The damaged tower was not repaired to full 50,000-watt capacity until this summer, he said.

Cindy Thompson, KARN manager, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.