Oxenford: "Don't Try This At Home"
Broadcast attorney David Oxenford chimed in on the Australian radio prank with advice for those of you out there thinking that was a good idea. He says, "even before the unexpected terrible outcome was known, it was very clear that this broadcast was not the type of gag that US broadcasters should imitate. Beyond the personal consequences that resulted from this event, the prank itself would be a violation of FCC rules if done by an American station, and would lead to an FCC fine."
Oxenford write: "The FCC rules prohibit broadcasters from putting a phone call on the air, or even recording a call for future broadcast, unless the caller is first told that he or she is going to be recorded, and consents to the call being broadcast. Unlike other laws that deal with the recording of telephone calls for other purposes – where having consent to recording from only one party to a conversation is permissible in many states - the FCC demands all across the US that broadcasters have two-party consent to calls even before the person on the other end of the call says "hello." As we have written before, the FCC imposes significant fines for any violation of the rule, no matter how well meaning, even if the call is done in a news context."
Check out his full blog on this topic HERE
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