If you get a spam-text over the next few days, it won’t be from Radio-One, the parent company of News92FM. And if you do, the FCC can fine the miscreant robo-texter up to $1,500 per message.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 has been upgraded to include mobile technology, and for a time, prudent businesses are suspending telemarketing operations. “The new rules that have taken effect are mainly targeted at automated telemarketing calls and recorded voice robo-calls to mobile phones,” says Radio-One Sr. VP of Interactive Local, Dan Shelley. “Almost as an after-thought, the rule also mentions text-messages,” he says.
Now that the Government’s re-opened for business, the Federal Communications Commission has the authority to levy a fine to the telemarketer or the texter, of between $500 and $1,500 per message. “If a marketer robo-calls 1,000 people, they could be liable for 15-hundred bucks, per-person, for that message,” Shelley says.”
The law was an Act of Congress 22-years ago, originally designed to guard against the misuse of telemarketing. “I understand the intent of the rules,” says Shelley. “I think it provides great protection to consumers from those un-solicited, un-wanted robo calls, in particular on cell phones–I mean, what’s more annoying than being telemarketed on your cell phone?”
Shelley says Radio-One has never sent un-solicited sponsored text messages to anyone. “We’ve only sent them to people who signed up for them in the past.” he says. With the new rules change, the company must now regain permissions from listeners to receive advertiser-sponsored text messages, and that’s put a temporary crimp in business. “We’re losing a little bit of revenue at the moment to comply with this new rule, because of all the bad guys out there who’ve been abusing people and invading their privacy,” says Shelley.
How much business?
“I could tell you that, but I’d have to kill you,” Shelley says, since that’s proprietary information.
Until the law’s revisions are fully understood, Radio-One is playing it safe. “We have stopped sending sponsored text-messages to our listeners, who had previously signed up for them, until we are clear from a legal perspective about how to proceed to get back into that business,” Shelley says.
Does this mean no more unwanted calls from “Ann in Account Services?”
“That’s right–unless you’ve asked Ann to call you,” Shelley says.
LISTEN HERE TO DAN SHELLEY’s COMMENTS: