In a June 16, 2014 blog post, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly voiced his support for updating the FCC’s Contest Rule, which currently requires broadcasters to periodically disclose a contest’s material terms on-air. Noting the “super-fast” talkers rattling off contest terms on the radio, and the “small print” used for television disclosures, Commissioner O’Rielly stated that the Commission should consider updating the Contest Rule to allow broadcasters to substitute their current on-air contest notifications “with simple instructions to visit a specific website for more information.” Posting such material online, Commissioner O’Rielly wrote, would have a number of benefits, including allowing listeners and viewers the opportunity to “actually read and digest the contest rules” and allowing 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.” In addition, the 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.”
As a way to proceed, Commissioner O’Rielly suggested the Commission consider the Petition for Rulemaking filed by Entercom Communications Corp. in January 2012 and put out for public comment in November 2012. Of the 17 commenters in that proceeding, none voiced any opposition to the proposed rule change. Commission O’Rielly further specified, however, that no broadcaster should be forced to change its current practices. Instead, broadcasters should continue to have the option of broadcasting material contest terms.
Commission O’Rielly closed his post with a contest of his own, the winner of which “will be the person who accurately predicts how long it takes for this proposal to be adopted.”