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State Pulls Ads From Radio Station After Critical Story

February 25, 1988

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ The head of the Rhode Island Lottery Commission pulled all lottery advertising from a radio station for three weeks after it broadcast an unfavorable report on a new multi-state game.

Commission Executive Director Peter J. O’Connell ordered the ads off WPRO on Feb. 3, the first day of the Lotto America game, following a report quoting a mathematician as saying a player would theoretically have to spend $50 a week for 7,000 years to win the game.

O’Connell, a retired state police major who helped dream up the game, called the mathematician a ″hare-brained professor,″ and said he was ″a little upset″ when he heard the report.

The game is played in Rhode Island, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

″I can’t tell people what to editorialize, what to report,″ O’Connell acknowledged.

But he said he thought it was unfair for the station to broadcast an unfavorable report on Lotto America when the Lottery Commission was paying to advertise the game. WPRO was the state’s official lottery radio station.

Barry Parker, WPRO’s news director, stood by the story, which he said was ciculated to other ABC radio stations.

Mitch Dolan, general manager and president of the station, said the matter was ″amicably resolved.″ He denied that the station apologized or that the news staff had been reprimanded.

″The only feedback that I gave the news department was that ‘You guys do your jobs,’ ″ Dolan said.

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