The FCC on Friday proposed to amend its rules governing contests conducted by broadcast stations by allowing the required disclosure of the material terms of the contest on the Internet, as an option for broadcasters in lieu of the current requirement that these disclosures be made by broadcasting them on-the-air a reasonable number of times. But the proposed rule change is not as simple as one would think, with the FCC asking about whether a number of specific obligations should be attached to any online disclosures, even potentially adding the requirement that the full URL for the online disclosure be made every time a contest is mentioned on the air, not simply a reasonable number of times as required under the current rules. So just what is the FCC proposing, and what is the big issue here?
The rule governing the conduct of broadcaster’s contests, Section 73.1216, covers contests conducted by broadcasters over-the-air. It does not cover contests by broadcasters that are exclusively conducted online (though, as we wrote here, if the contest is announced on the air, even if primarily conducted online, all the required on-air disclosures apply). It does not cover contests conducted by third-parties that are broadcast on the air (so contests conducted by an advertiser are not covered by this rule). The current rule, in addition to requiring that the contest be conducted fairly and in accordance with the rules adopted for the contest, requires that the “material rules” be broadcast on the air on a regular basis so that listeners know what they might win, how to play the contest, and how the winner is selected. It is this requirement, that the material rules be broadcast on the station, that has led to problems in the past, and thus prompted the proposed changes advanced on Friday.
Continue Reading FCC Proposes To Amend Rules Governing Broadcast Contests – Suggests Allowing Disclosure of Material Terms of the Contest on the Internet