If a radio station wants to run a contest, it must disclose often complex rules over the air per current regulations. In asking for an update, Entercom Communications suggested this could better be done these days on the internet, and NAB filed with the FCC in support of the Entercom position.
The parties note in the first place that most Americans expect to find just this kind of information on the internet, and have a variety of ways to access it.
At the same time, the reading of rules over the air is utterly unappealing from a programming standpoint (a particular problem when listeners can easily switch to a competitor at the slightest sign of boring on-air content) and is also an inefficient way to make sure all potential contest participants have access to the rules.
Further, the current rules were written in 1976, when there were no fax machines, much less a world wide web.
NAB concluded, “Because internet accessibility and usage are so widespread, NAB sees no downside to making station websites the key source of information on contest rules. According to BIA data, at least 90% of all AM/FM commercial radio stations in the U.S. have a website. Consumers are quite familiar with the sites and visit them often. Thus, posting the material terms of broadcaster-conducted contests on broadcasters’ websites, with periodic on air directions to those sites, as an alternative way (beyond on air announcements) to make required disclosures would not in any way decrease public awareness, and could well increase it.”
RBR-TVBR observation: This is total common sense – FCC should get to work on this immediately and bring this body of regulation into the 21st Century.