True or False? Take the Rules Test
well do you know FCC rules that apply to your station? The questions
in this column are derived from the publication “Radio Rules! A
Guide to FCC Policies and Procedures for On-Air Staff.” This
booklet is published by the National Association of Broadcasters, and
I recommend it highly to anyone responsible for station procedures
and employees. It has been newly updated and costs $20 (less for NAB
members). Find it at www.nabstore.com.
_____ By law, alcohol advertising must be placed in broadcast
communications only where at least 75 percent of the audience is
reasonably expected to be above legal purchase age.
_____ The FCC has determined that a “conversation” begins when a
person answers the phone; so your station might violate the prior
notification requirement even if you merely broadcast the person
saying “hello” and immediately inform the person of your
intention to air the conversation live.
_____ Among the duties that the chief operator must perform or
oversee is a review of the station log at least once per month.
_____ Contests are distinguished from lotteries in that they
generally have only two of the three ingredients that constitute a
lottery: Prize, chance and consideration.
_____ False and defamatory statements made about a group of people,
naming no individuals, cannot result in a libel/slander claim.
_____ The FCC has stated that broadcasting songs with drug lyrics is
within the discretion of the licensee, and that whether a particular
recording depicts the dangers of drug abuse or promotes such illegal
drug usage is a question for the judgment of the licensee.
_____ All broadcast station licensees, except for low-power TV and
10-watt noncom FMs, are required to have equipment capable of
encoding EAS codes.
_____ The FCC has declared as obsolete the
rule provision referencing the “Fairness Doctrine.”
_____ Obscene material may be aired in a certain “safe harbor”
_____ When the station cannot continue operating for reasons beyond
its control, it must obtain FCC authority to be silent within 24
_____ If the station remains silent for 12 consecutive months, its
license expires automatically.
_____ Stations may require that a person who wishes to view the
public inspection file make an appointment.
_____ Stations may ask for the name and address of the person wishing
to inspect the file, the name of his or her organization and the
reason for inspection.
_____ The following is permissible as a station identification
announcement at the top of the hour: “WBPE, Austin Broadcasting
Incorporated, 750 on your hot AM dial, your number one rocker in
_____ Station logs must be retained for five years, unless the log
concerns a disaster or FCC investigation about which the licensee has
been notified; in such cases the FCC must authorize destruction of
did you do?
False. Such a guideline exists but it is voluntary, not law; and the
percentage is 70.
False. The requirement is at least once per week.
False. While laws differ by state, group defamation laws may apply.
False. Obscene material does not receive constitutional protection
and may not be aired at any time. This is distinct from “indecent”
False. The station may limit or discontinue operations for up to 30
days without further authority.
False. No appointment is necessary during regular business hours.
False. Only the name and address may be asked.
False. Only name of the licensee and frequency/channel number may be
inserted between call letters and city of license.
False. The required term is two years, not five.