Big Problem with Star 104’s Cash, Cars and Stars

On Wednesday, Star 104 here in Erie concluded its Cash, Cars and Stars contest by giving away a 2014 Honda Civic and $500 cash.  The contest has been run by Star 104 in the past, and is an extremely popular event in local radio.  That said, there was a glaring error in the contest this year.  Worse, as of yet, the station has refused to acknowledge the mistake.

For those who are unfamiliar, Cash, Cars and Stars requires listeners to identify the 5 celebrities who are “seated in Star 104’s Virtual Car.”  Several times each weekday, the station prompts listeners to call and caller 14 is given a clue regarding the identity of the current star.  Callers who correctly name the star win a smaller prize, and the caller who identifies the final star is awarded the grand prize.

As a contest that spans several weeks, participants who listen regularly have the advantage of hearing more clues.  More clues result in more specific research, and obviously, better guesses.  You probably realize this can only be helpful if all the clues are accurate.

On Friday, April 18, the event had reached the 5th and final star. The first clue given that morning (#20 of the eventual 38 clues) was “This Star does not have a sister.”  Caller 14 was unable to correctly guess the star and the contest continued.  Several days later, based on other clues, the star was identified as Zach Galifianakis, and the car was awarded.

Wait….what?   Zach Galifianakis has a sister named Merritt.

It turns out that I was caller 14 on clue #21 (the very next clue!).  By then, I had already started ruling out any star with, well, a sister. Why in the world would I guess Zach Galifianakis?  The whole point of the game is relying on the accuracy of the clues.  

So imagine my surprise when the final star turned out to be someone who has a sister!!!  Along with a few other listeners who caught it, I posted on the Star 104 Facebook page regarding the mistake.  Within several hours, all of the posts about the error had been deleted. A few other listeners posted, and again, their comments got deleted.

According to the rules of the contest:  “To the extent permitted by law, all entrants release from, and indemnify WRTS, Connoisseur Media LLC., Bianchi Honda and any other Porreco Auto Group against all liability, cost, loss or expense arising out of acceptance of any prize(s) or participation in the Promotion including (but not limited to) loss of income, loss of opportunity, personal injury and damage to property, whether direct or consequential, foreseeable, due to some negligent act or omission or otherwise.”  

I realize this roughly translates to “Even if we screw up, it’s not our problem.  There’s nothing you can do.”  And I know the contest won’t be restarted or anything.  The problem is that the station refuses to acknowledge there was even a mistake.  I should clarify:  The station is refusing to acknowledge it on social media. I don’t have any idea if it’s been mentioned on the air because I won’t listen to Star 104 anymore.

During the most valuable part of the contest, a factually inaccurate clue was given which steered regular listeners AWAY from the correct answer. Loyal listening became a disadvantage.  And the contest organizers would rather ignore it until everyone forgets.  I will not pretend it didn’t happen.  Unless something changes, I will no longer listen to Star 104 or participate in any of their unreliable contests.

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4 comments
  1. Zack said:

    Good! Better chance for us to win with you out of the race. Do you really think that Star 104 cares about what one listener says. I mean, come on buddy. Did you expect this rent to come to the conclusion that you’ll wake up and find a shiny new car on your driveway with a note saying “You were right”?! I’m glad you decided to rant about your emotions online rather than bully a kid for their lunch money, but frankly, who gives a shit. You lost partner!

    • If you can’t rely on the information given during the contest to be factual, then winning is based essentially on random chance. And for anyone who hears the inaccurate clue, their odds of winning are actually worse than if they didn’t hear it.
      I also acknowledged that I didn’t expect anything to happen to the result of the contest. What I was hoping for, and looking for by posting reasonably on Star 104’s Facebook page, was simply an acknowledgment that it happened. Deleting all of the posts is proof of what you said: They don’t care about the opinion of one listener.
      By all means, continue to play and I hope you win, but remember that if Star says the winning celeb is a man, don’t be too shocked when the answer turns out to be Kate Upton.

      • Zack said:

        Hey Ha! Overall, the point that you’re trying to weasel yourself into, is that you “would” have won the car, “if” they wouldn’t leave the contest up to chance. You’re acting like they took the vehicle for themselves and never gave it away. Someone did win the vehicle and someone did play the game. Was it chance? Sure, why not. Let’s call it that. Stop shedding tears because you lost and you aren’t getting reimbursed for your lost time.
        I’ve been playing the powerball for years, but have never won. I think I’m going to call our State Senator and have him explain why the game is up to chance and not logic.

  2. Maddy G said:

    Tell all the station advertisers!

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