© 2024 KRWG
News that Matters.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

FCC Rules for On-Air Contests

For your information, the FCC has adopted changes to its rules concerning on-air contests, most notably by offering radio and TV stations more discretion with respect to how they disclose the material terms of contests. Specifically, stations will now be permitted to comply with the requirement to disclose material contest terms on the Internet or over-the-air, whereas the FCC previously simply required stations to broadcast such information over-the-air.

The FCC has long required that radio and TV stations that promote their own contests on-air must “provide complete, accurate, and timely information about the contests they conduct, ensure that such information is not false, misleading, or deceptive, and conduct their contests substantially as announced or advertised.” Those basic requirements remain in place, but the FCC has now loosened up its regulations with regard to how stations provide consumers with relevant information. As noted, stations were previously required to disclose material contest terms (such as how to enter or participate; eligibility restrictions; entry deadline dates; whether prizes can be won; the extent, nature and value of prizes; basis for valuation of prizes; time and means of selection of winners; and/or tie-breaking procedures) periodically by announcements broadcast over the station, but the FCC will now allow stations to meet the obligation to disclose such terms either by periodic broadcast announcements or in writing on a readily accessible public Internet web site.

For stations that choose to meet their contest terms disclosure obligations by website posting rather than broadcast announcement, the following requirements will apply:

A “publicly accessible” website must be used to post the material contest terms. “Publicly accessible” means designed to be accessible to the public 24/7, for free, and without any registration requirement. This may include the station’s website or the licensee’s website (or if neither has its own website, any website that is readily accessible to the public).

Broadcast Identification of Website Address. The station must periodically broadcast the address of the website where the contest terms are disclosed in language that enables a typical consumer to easily locate the home page (such as “for contest rules go to kxyz.com and then click on the contest tab”).

Home Page Link to Contest Terms. The station or licensee must establish a link or tab on the home page of the website used to disclose material contest terms that take consumers to contest information. The link/tab must be conspicuously located on the home page and labeled to make clear its relation to contest information.

Duration of Online Disclosures. Stations that choose to disclose material contest terms online must maintain such terms on the website for at least 30 days after the contest has concluded (that is, 30 days after a winner has been selected, notified, and publicly announced). Stations should also timely label expired contest terms to make clear that the contest has ended (including the date a winner was selected).

Changes to Material Contest Terms. If a station satisfies contest term disclosure requirements on the Internet, and the material terms of a contest are changed after the contest has been announced, then the station must announce ON-AIR that the contest rules have changed and direct participants to the website to review the changes. Such announcements must be made within 24 hours of such change(s), and periodically thereafter until the contest concludes.

Consistency of Contest Terms. The FCC will also require that any material contest terms disclosed on the Internet conform in all substantive respects to contest terms broadcast over the air.

A copy of the FCC’s Report and Order adopting these rules changes is available at: