O'Rielly: FCC Should Modify Contest Rules

FCC commissioner Michael O'Rielly is proposing that the FCC allow broadcasters to opt for an online, rather than on-air disclosure of contest rules.

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. He is not suggesting that be a mandate, but an option.

In a blog post June 16, O'Rielly suggested that super-fast talkers and tiny print are not the most effective way to fulfill the contest rule disclosure mandate in the Internet age.

"Posting such material online would allow viewers the opportunity to actually read and digest the contest rules (i.e., available 24 hours a day) and determine how best to participate," he said. "Internet publication also allows broadcasters to provide a more complete description of the contest, update it as necessary, and significantly reduce the instances that could lead to FCC enforcement actions. Moreover, this change would better effectuate the original intent of the Contest Rule, which was designed to require licensees who conduct broadcast contests to take certain steps to assure that they are promoted and conducted properly.”

O'Rielly points out that Entercom petitioned the FCC for such a change in January 2012, that it was unopposed, and that it was supported by National Public Radio among others.

He says modifying the contest rules does not mean broadening its mandates. He says the goal is to make compliance easier, not more difficult.

To read the entire post click here.

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.