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WXGR Underwriting & Donation: FCC Regulations
Commercial Underwriting on Noncommercial Educational Stations
Identification not Promotion. Educational broadcasting contributor acknowledgements must be made for identification purposes only and must not promote the contributor’s products, services or company.
A. Licensee Judgment
The FCC expects public broadcast licensees to review each donor or underwriter acknowledgement and make good faith judgments as to whether they identify rather than promote. This judgment must be the key element in meeting Congress’ determination that the service should remain free of commercial and commercial-like matter.
Donor and underwriter acknowledgements may include:
- Logos or slogans which identify and do not promote or contain comparative or qualitative descriptions of the donor’s products or services.
- Value-neutral descriptions of a product or service (up to 4)
- Visual (auditory) depictions of products or services
- Company, trade & brand names
- Product or service listings
- Years in business
- Geographic location
- Telephone number or website or street address
- Messages may be 10 seconds in length, 15-20 words, 15-second messages are permitted.
- Price information, including interest rate information or other indication of savings or value associated with the product.
- Call to action, e.g., “stop by our showroom to see a model”; “try product X next time you buy.”
- Inducement to buy, sell, rent, or lease are not permissible, e.g., “six months’ free service”; “special gift for the first 50 visitors”.
Announcements can not include qualitative or comparative language or advertisements defined as: any message or other programming material which is broadcast or otherwise transmitted in exchange for any remuneration, and which is intended (1) to promote any service, facility, or product offered by any person who is engaged in such offering for profit; (2) to express the views of any person with respect to any matter of public importance or interest; (3) to support or oppose any candidate for public office.
D. Program-Related Materials:
Public broadcasters can air announcements promoting program-related materials sold by nonprofit organizations including the station itself. Announcements for the sale of program-related materials by for-profit entities are permitted so long as the licensee:
- Receives no consideration for the announcement;
- The materials are offered on the basis of public interest considerations and not the private economic interests of the offeror;
- The price of the materials offered is only nominal, the nominal price requirement does not apply to offerings sponsored by nonprofit entities.
Above from FCC Announcements Promoting Goods and Services, Section 399B of the Communication’s Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 73.503(d) and 73.621(e) of FCC rules which specifically: prohibit the broadcast of announcements by public broadcast stations which promote the sale of goods and services of for-profit entities in return for consideration paid to the station; permit contributors of funds to the station to receive on-air acknowledgements.