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Avoid Legal Trouble And Get More Done


I worked for CBS several years ago. I know just how hard they try to avoid legal trouble. So I can only imagine the [expletive deleted] storm that occurred internally, leading up to the $10K fine that the FCC levied on CBSs Urban AC in Charlotte, WBAV. You can read broadcast attorney David Oxenford's analysis of the situation for Radio Ink here.

This news is certainly being circulated to radio staffs all over the country with the instructions to be extra-careful that we do what we say well do when we run contests. Instead of adding to anyones workload, heres how you can use your digital tools to simplify your workday when it comes to special content and events that youre promoting on all your different platforms.


Once you post the copy of your contest rules, make that the only copy you work with. If you have a special Web page for the contest (and you should), link to the rules from it. Produce the rules promo for on-air from the online rules, and make sure everyone who might need them has a link. That means dont circulate a different document with the rules once theyre posted. Consider the rules at the website the only real rules.


WBAV got in trouble because the contest dates in email, on the website, and on-air didnt all line up together. Lets solve the email part right now: send out less-wordy emails. For the Carolina Cuties contest that resulted in a fine, all you would say in your email is, Do you have Charlottes cutest baby? You could win blah-blah-blah and show off your kid on Learn how to enter and win Carolina Cuties here. The word here is a link back to the special Web page youve already created for this contest. That Web page shows what you can win and how to enter, and has a link to the official rules. Youre centralizing the information, which means less of a chance of someone freelancing on important details.

By the way, a huge benefit of writing less and linking more in your email is that people then tend to open them up and read them more often!


I know, the last thing you want is another meeting. But this one will actually save you time throughout the week.
Hold a weekly half-hour focus meeting for those, and only those, who are your key content providers. Those are the people who really impact what happens on the air, on your website, and in social media. Keep the list as small, yet inclusive, as you can. Then, each week, run through the major topics youre going to focus on in the coming week: contests, concerts, appearances, special programming, key personality show bits, whatever. Talk about how they fit together: Well announce this contest on Facebook and in email a day before we start promoting it on the air on Thursday. That means the Web page needs to be ready Tuesday morning so we can see it, and the promos need to be done by Wednesday. Im writing the copy and Ill have it to you later today. Brainstorm, coordinate, and prioritize. Its project management for all your content platforms, and this will focus everyones to-do list for the week, leading to less confusion and fewer sloppy mistakes all around.

Chris Miller has been a major-market PD in Atlanta, Portland and Cleveland. He now operates Chris Miller Digital, which he launched. Visit his website at
Contact Chris via e-mail, or 216-236-3955.

For more articles from Chris Miller go HERE.


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