||NAB Supports Proposal to Change How Stations Disclose Contest Rules
With the Internet functioning as the go-to information source for a majority of Americans, the National Association of Broadcasters believes it's time for the FCC to update its 36-year-old rules to allow stations to disclose contest rules online instead of on-air.
In comments filed at the FCC recently, the NAB says it supports a petition filed by Entercom requesting a rulemaking proceeding to update the disclosure rules. Entercom asked the FCC to consider abolishing the on-air requirement and instead allow stations to post rules on their websites.
In its filing, the NAB notes that when the contest disclosure rules were written in 1976, there were no fax machines, email, Internet, personal computers or smartphones with which to communicate contest terms to audiences other than on-air. But things have changed.
"Reading detailed contest terms on-air interrupts radio programming and can drive listeners away," the NAB says. "Accessing contest terms via the Internet is a more user-friendly way for consumers to read, understand and assess the terms of a contest, rather than trying to catch a fleeting and periodic on-air announcement."
The Consumer & Government Affairs Bureau apparently believes the suggestion has merit and has put the item up for public comment. Entercom EVP/general counsel Jack Donlevie says he has met with FCC staff about the idea and found no pushback to his proposal. Donlevie says preliminary research conducted by Entercom reveals that in a stopset containing a contest rule message, the rate of listener tune-out is double.
"The reason for the rules is not being achieved -- they aren't reaching the public," he says.
Contest rules have become increasingly complex in recent years with the announcements running through a litany of guidelines at an auctioneer's pace. In some cases worries over how to explain the rules to a listener have limited what station promotion teams have dreamed up.
(Source: Inside Radio, 12/27/12)