FCC Votes To Update Contest Disclosures

The FCC voted Friday to allow radio and TV broadcasters to put contest rules online.

Currently, those rules must be broadcast, but the FCC said it was time to give broadcasters flexibility in the Internet age.

Broadcasters will be able to put contest rules on their station website, or a parent company website, or if it has neither, any publicly accessible website. They must broadcast the full Web address any time they promote or advertise the contest.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel pointed out the contest rule was adopted in 1976. When it comes to 2014, she said, it is a whole new world. She said she thought it was time for broadcasters to use 21st century tools to fulfill their contest requirements. She gave Commissioner Michael O'Rielly credit for pushing for the change.

In a blog post last June noting the fast-talking radio disclosures and small-type TV disclosures, he suggests broadcasters be allowed to instead post the rules online where folks can actually peruse and digest them. 

Commissioner Ajit Pai said the rules should be modernized, and that broadcasters should have the option to put contest rules online, allowing viewers or listeners to peruse them at their leisure—and keeping them from changing the station when the rules come on the air.

O'Rielly said he hoped the proposal would not languish in Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for a minute longer than necessary.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn applauded a "winner of an item.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.