Can cash prizes be mentioned in an underwriting announcement?

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Can cash prizes be mentioned in an underwriting announcement?

Q. There’s an art festival in town that wants to be an underwriter. They’ve asked for their messages to be about 2 contests (based on skill–not lotteries) that take place at the festival. They want to say “winners get cash.” Can the announcements be worded that way?

A. No. The mention of a cash prize is promotional.

The FCC has identified several specific types of impermissible promotional announcements, including those containing: Inducements to buy, sell, rent, or lease a product or utilize a service violate the rules.

Examples include [Public Notice FCC 86-161, 7 FCC Rec. 827, (1986)]:

  • “Six months of free service.”
  • “A bonus available this week.”
  • “Special gift for the first 50 visitors.”

This information is taken from NFCB’s Public Radio Legal Handbook

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