Many radio stations use text messaging to deliver information and advertising to listeners. However, improper use of texting can lead to Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) violations—and potentially expensive class action lawsuits—for broadcasters.

Womble Carlyle’s Telecom Team regularly works with radio stations on TCPA issues. Attorneys John Garziglia, Doug Bonner, Rebecca Jacobs. and Marty Stern recently discussed “Everything You Need to Know About Texting Your Listeners” with Radio Ink.

In the article, Garziglia, Bonner, Jacobs and Stern answer such questions as:

  • What is the liability difference between sending unsolicited informational text messages, and sending unsolicited advertising text messages?
  • There must be “prior express consent” for unsolicited automated informational text messages. Then there is the higher standard of “prior express written consent” for unsolicited automated advertising text messages. What is the practical difference to these forms of consent and is this a distinction without a difference?
  • Are the sports scores text messages shown in the CBS Radio lawsuit advertising messages or informational messages?
  • What about the situation where a radio station is sending sports scores or other apparent informational texts that were presumably requested at some point to be sent but the telephone number is re-used on a burner phone or changed through subscriber churn?
  • Does a radio station’s insurance cover a TCPA lawsuit?
  • Some radio stations have established various text alerts such as weather and traffic alerts, school closings, pump patrol and such to send to listeners who sign up. The informational texts might also come with a sponsor message. Are these radio stations inherently open to a class action lawsuit no matter what safeguards they employ and consents they request, or is there a way for a radio station to safely run such a service for listeners?
  • If a radio station seeks requests or contest entries by texting, can the radio station automatically respond with one reply text message that also contains an advertising message in the signature line?
  • Click here to read the full article, “Everything You Need to Know About Texting Your Listeners,” at Radio Ink.

Doug Bonner has more than 20 years of experience representing wireline and wireless telecommunications providers, cable TV, VoIP and broadcast companies in FCC, FTC and state regulatory proceedings, as well as in telecommunications-related litigation. His experience includes providing privacy and data breach counseling to businesses.

John Garziglia represents radio and television broadcasters, offering personalized assistance in all areas of communications and telecommunications law including transactional and contract negotiations for broadcast station mergers and acquisitions, the securing of financing, governmental auctions of new frequencies, license renewals, new stations applications, facility changes, facility upgrades, licensing, and compliance with FCC rules, regulations and policies.

Rebecca Jacobs has a comprehensive communications law practice, guiding clients in media law, Internet, telecom, cable and privacy/data protection matters. She counsels communications industry clients in negotiating contracts and complex business transactions, as well as helping them resolve disputes and regulatory challenges. In addition, Jacobs works with Womble Carlyle’s Privacy and Data Protection Team to help clients protect confidential information.

Marty Stern provides legal and strategic counsel on regulatory, policy and commercial matters to telecommunications, information technology and media firms, including network operators, programmers, and technology companies, in the United States and globally. He represents clients before the Administration, Congress, and federal agencies, including the FCC, U.S. Departments of Justice, Commerce, Transportation, and Homeland Security, FTC, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and CFIUS. He also develops and executes regulatory and legislative strategies, including through trade associations and the formation and implementation of industry coalitions, and engages in associated advocacy.