FCC Modernizes Broadcast Contest Rule

The commission’s action allows broadcasters to choose on-air or on-line notification of contest rules.

The FCC today adopted rules that allow broadcasters to disclose contest rules online as an alternative to broadcasting them over the air. Adopted in 1976, the Contest Rule requires broadcasters to disclose important contest information fully and accurately, and to conduct contests substantially as announced.

Today’s rule change preserves these requirements, but modernizes how broadcast stations can meet their disclosure obligation by announcing their contest terms over the air or by posting that information on a website.

The order also adopts related implementing rules, including the requirement that broadcasters periodically announce over the air the website address where their contest rules can be found.

The FCC began this rulemaking in response to the dramatic changes that have occurred in how Americans obtain information since the Contest Rule was adopted almost 40 years ago.

The commission said the “rule changes give broadcast stations more flexibility in the way they comply with the Contest Rule, and give consumers a more convenient way to obtain contest information normally aired through television and radio advertisements.”

NAB EVP of Communications Dennis Wharton commented on the move, saying: “NAB applauds the FCC for updating its contest rules to better reflect today’s media environment. Providing flexibility about where and how contest rules can be posted online allows broadcasters to best serve our audiences based on the wide variety of contests we run. NAB looks forward to working collaboratively with the FCC to help radio and TV stations adhere to these revised rules.”

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Comments (3)

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Ellen Samrock says:

September 17, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Let’s not get too clap happy. Given that the internet came into widespread use in the late 90’s, I would say the FCC is about 15 years too late here. As it is, there are still many rules on the books that broadcasters labor under which are long passed their sell-by date. I don’t see the Commission feeling the urgency to repeal those.

    Keith ONeal says:

    September 17, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    Maybe Congress should consider repealing the FCC!

    Ellen Samrock says:

    September 18, 2015 at 1:26 am

    Well, they’ve been talking about reforming the FCC for years. I wish they would do something because the agency is totally overwhelmed and out of control. Inaction is the only action when it comes to Washington.


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