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A Solution to Fast Talk and Fine Print? FCC Revises Contest Rules

For almost 40 years, any on-air contest holding the promise of winning money and prizes has come with the requirement that broadcasters also do an on-air disclosure of the rules.

The problem is, the disclosure usually comes in the form of a fast-talking announcer or finely printed text across the screen.

Now the FCC is giving broadcasters the option of posting the information online, periodically announcing on air the website where the rules can be found.

“If you are listening to the radio or watching TV, chances are it won’t be long until you hear about your chance to win concert tickets, cash prizes, or maybe even a new car,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. “Chances are this offer to enter-and-win a contest will also be followed by the disclosure of contest rules that are either read too quickly to understand or printed too small on the screen to read.”

He said that the online disclosure “is a common-sense move that will benefit both broadcasters and consumers. Everybody’s a winner.”

The disclosure requirements were originally adopted in 1976.

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