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FCC Revises Contest Rules

FCC Broadcast Online Contest RulesThe FCC unanimously approved a measure to allow radio and television stations to post their contest rules online.

Originally proposed by Entercom in 2012, the rulemaking brings the disclosure rule inline with “how the majority of Americans access and consume information in the 21st century.” No longer will the rules need to be disclosed on-air at fast speed, but rather on an easy to find link on the station’s website for up to thirty days following the completion of a contest.

The Federal Communications Commission 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 an Internet 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 the way Americans obtain information since the Contest Rule was adopted almost four decades ago. 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.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

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