There has always been tension between giving noncommercial TV and radio stations flexibility to raise revenue and preserving their character as “noncommercial” entities (i.e., operating on a not-for-profit basis and without commercials). Section 399(b) of the Communications Act prohibits the broadcast of advertisements on noncommercial stations.18 In 1984, the FCC granted stations more flexibility by adopting a policy of “enhanced underwriting,”19 which permitted noncommercial stations to broadcast donor and underwriter acknowledgements from for-profit entities. These acknowledgments can include logograms and slogans that identify, but do not promote, sponsoring businesses. They may include business location information, value-neutral descriptions of a product line or service, and brand and trade names along with product or service listings.20 That is why some underwriting messages resemble ads. Subjects that cannot be mentioned in underwriting announcements include price information, such as discounts, rebates, and interest rates; calls to action; inducements to buy, sell, rent, or lease; and any language that states or implies favorable comparisons to other like businesses or competitors
This article is a copy from the FCC. More can be found at https://transition.fcc.gov/osp/inc-report/INoC-31-Nonprofit-Media.pdf
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