The FCC’s “Contest Rule” says when a station has a contest, that station needs to broadcast details about the contest regularly. FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly wrote, in his blog this week, that those detailed disclosures are important, and therefore should be included on the web, and announcers can direct listeners to the full contest rules instead of speed-talking to list them on the air.

O’Reilly points out that posting rules online, where people can actually take the time to read and understand them, is more true to the original intent of the Contest Rule. It improves a station’s service to listeners and reassures them that contests on your station are ethically sound and transparent.

He notes that a petition for rule making on this subject was put out for comments in 2012, and received no opposition, only comments of support. These supportive comments underscore O’Reilly’s point that the rules are important, and now that we have the Internet, we should be able to publish the full contest rules and really make sure that running a legal contest on your station is as easy as possible.

Radio World and Radio Ink have covered the subject, as has David Oxenford’s Broadcast Law Blog. Be careful with your contests, because right now, there are still possible fines for failing to broadcast your contest’s rules, even if your contest is mostly conducted on your website.