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NAB Agrees Contest Disclosure Rules Need Update

Tells FCC online disclosure brings broadcasters closer to parity with their competitors

NAB has told the FCC that its contest rules, which apply to broadcast radio and television stations, dating from 1976, need to change.

The lobbying group agrees with the agency’s proposals to update its rules and bring them in line with how consumers access information today. Essentially, the agency proposed giving broadcasters a choice of meeting their disclosure obligation by posting contest rules on a website or, by continuing to provide them on-air.

Stations have said for years that reading long contest rules online drives listeners and viewers away and Entercom Communications petitioned the agency in 2012 to allow stations to place contest terms online.

“Listeners and viewers will benefit from online disclosure of the material terms of licensee-conducted contests, which will largely replace the current practice of fleeting and rapidly communicated on-air announcements,” says NAB in its comments to the FCC. NAB also notes that since the current contest rules don’t apply to contests conducted by satellite or Internet radio, cable and satellite TV or over commercial wireless networks — adopting the proposal would “be an important step” to bringing broadcasters into parity with their competitors.

NAB suggests the commission not specify how long contest terms must remain available and allow stations to remove the terms from their website as soon as a contest is over to avoid confusing the public. Initial comments to the FCC were due Feb. 17 to MB Docket No. 14-226. Replies are due March 19.