Underwriting Compliance Guide

Non-Commercial Educational Including LPFM

Underwriting Compliance Guide

Michelle Bradley, CBT

Revised December 2, 2019

REC Networks
https://recnet.com
202 621-2355

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    1. About this Compliance Manual
    2. FCC Order #1
    3. Communications Act Section 399b
    4. A brief history of noncommercial radio in America
    5. Why is LPFM a noncommercial service
  2. Underwriting Basics
    1. Underwriting vs. advertising
    2. Why would a business want to underwrite?
    3. Messages on behalf of not-for-profit entities
    4. Remuneration is more than just cash
  3. Identification vs. Promotion
    1. Starting with a “business card”/avoid “menu” listing
    2. Calls to action
    3. Enticement/planting a seed
    4. Qualitative, quantitative & comparative statements
    5. Pricing, discounts and interest rates
    6. Slogans
    7. Affinity/membership cards
    8. Don’t try to sound like NPR/PBS
    9. Old time radio commercials
  4. Other prohibited acts
    1. Requests from political campaigns
    2. Payola and plugola
    3. Certain types of businesses with restrictions on messages
  5. Third-Party Fundraising
  6. Station policy
    1. Longer is not better
    2. Live copy vs. prerecorded copy
    3. Other things to avoid
    4. Live remotes
    5. Review and approval process
  7. Consequences for underwriting violations

DISCLAIMER: THIS MANUAL WAS NOT WRITTEN BY AN ATTORNEY AND THEREFORE SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE.  REC NETWORKS IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES THAT MAY ARISE FROM THE USE OF THIS MANUAL.  THIS GUIDE IS BASED ON 20 YEARS OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE NON-COMMERCIAL (INCLUDING LPFM) BROADCAST SERVICE.