Q: What must a station disclose and when must it be disclosed in promos for a station contest?

A: The FCC's rule governing station conducted contests, 73.1216, requires a station to disclose fully and accurately the "material terms" of the contest. The "material terms" include those elements which define the operation of the contest and which affect participation in the contest. Material terms will vary with the nature of each contest, but generally they will include how to enter; any eligibility restrictions (e.g., age, driver's license); entry deadline; whether a prize can be won; when prizes can be won; the extent, nature and value of prizes; the basis for valuation of the prizes; and the means of selecting winners (including tie-breaking procedures). From the contestant's viewpoint, these are the factors that will determine whether or not to participate and how to participate and win.

The FCC will give the station some discretion in the time and manner of disclosure of the material terms of the contest. However, the obligation to disclose the material terms begins when the audience is first told how to enter or participate and continues until the contest is concluded. Any promos, including the full disclosure promos, should be understandable to the average listener.