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Industry groups fight for 'call' exemptions

Broadcasters and cable operators last week asked the Federal Communications
Commission for leniency in revised "do-not-call" rules the agency is designing
for telemarketers.

The National Association of Broadcasters asked that the FCC clarify that
prerecorded messages sent by radio and television stations to remind potential
viewers to tune into broadcasts at a particular time for a chance to win a
prize fall under the exemption from promotions that "do not seek to sell a
product or service."

The revisions affect rules the FCC issued to implement the 1991 Telephone
Consumer Protection Act, which established do-not-call lists.

Two broadcast groups, Cox Radio Inc. and Susquehanna Radio Corp., face separate
class-action lawsuits alleging that stations' promotions violated the rules.

"The broadcasters relied in good faith on statements by Congress and the
commission regarding the scope and purpose of the exemptions," the NAB said.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association asked that the FCC
preserve exemptions for calls to individuals with whom a marketer has an
"established business relationship," such as cable subscribers. "Such calls
often provide consumers with benefits and welcome service enhancements," the NCTA

Additionally, the trade group said, the FCC should coordinate revisions with the Federal
Trade Commission, which is crafting its own revisions.

Incidentally, Reed Elsevier Inc., parent company of Broadcasting & Cable, also asked for preservation of exemptions for
calls to existing customers. And Reed Elsevier asked the FCC to clarify that
faxes sent to individuals and business that provide fax numbers constitutes
consent for the communications to be sent.