The legality of GameSitter, an answering service created to tell people when their winning numbers are announced on the air in the current $1 million promotion on WRQX-FM (107.3), is being examined at ABC corporate headquarters.
"The ads have been sent to our corporate offices, and we are awaiting a decision," says Marty Wall, director of advertising and promotion. Q-107 is owned by ABC.
Eric Moody, 35, a computer consultant and one of four founders of GameSitter in Alexandria, says he consulted an attorney before starting the service and was advised that the enterprise was legal. "I was advised that as long as we kept our word and did what we are saying we do, it was fine," he says. The company was started a few days after the contest went on the air Jan. 17.
GameSitter has advertised for clients to register their numbers from the Q-107 catalogues for a $6 fee, and then the service would call to tell them to call the radio station. Moody said he left a promotional flier at WRQX before the service started and followed that up with a phone call. But, he says, "they have never contacted me."
Moody said his firm listens to the station 18 hours a day and that he has heard announcers encourage other people to call for the winners. "They say, 'Give your numbers to your mother.' I have heard people say they are calling for their girlfriends. We recommended people listen to Q-107, and if it wasn't for them we wouldn't be in business. They may view us as an adversary, but we don't view them as an adversary."
Asked about complaints -- unrelated to the GameSitter matter -- that the contest telephone line is always busy during the 20-minute period allowed for a winner to call in, Wall said, "It is people who claim they have the number, who think they have the number, or people asking for the number to be repeated. I have monitored the line, and they are always open to take calls." The promotion, says Wall, is offering more than $1 million in prizes and cost the station $650,000. The figure was incorrectly reported in a previous column.