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April Fools’ Day Fraught with Danger

- On-Air Pranks Can Prove Costly

It seems like everybody could use a laugh these days but be careful with on-air April Fools’ Day pranks as they could land stations in hot water with the FCC and maybe even a judge. That’s the counsel of our worry-wort, fun-busting lawyer friends, and thank goodness we have them!

Attorney David Oxenford with Wilkinson Barker Knauer routinely cautions that the FCC’s rule prohibiting broadcast hoaxes, Section 73.1217, prevents stations for airing any information about a “crime or catastrophe” on the air if the station 1) knows the information is false, 2) it’s reasonably foreseeable that the broadcast of the material could cause substantial public harm, and 3) public harm actually results.

The risk extends beyond FCC liability, Oxenford notes, as any station activity that could present the risk of bodily harm to a participant also raises the potential for civil liability.

Pull a stunt that winds up wasting First Responders’ time, and you could soon be emptying your pockets. Read on for more of Oxenford’s insights.

Plan April Fools' Day On-Air Stunts with Care – Remember the FCC Hoax Rule

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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