What is Underwriting?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allows companies to “underwrite” programs on noncommercial stations like WVUD, but it does not allow “advertising.” Underwriting is similar to advertising, but differs in a few very important areas.
The FCC forbids announcements that issue a call to action. This means that statements like stop in, shop here, call, call now, limited time only, etc. are not allowed. Underwriter announcements also may not contain qualitative words. Qualitative words such as largest selection, newest model, best in town, finest selection, and state of the art are prohibited. Finally, announcements may not mention or give reference to prices. References such as free, sale, discount, clearance, reduced, going out of business sale, and liquidation, are also not permitted.
Underwriting announcements on WVUD are required to follow these FCC guidelines.
Our Enhanced Underwriting Announcements:
• identify but do not promote.
• do not call to action.
• use value neutral language.
• do not mention prices.
• are not sold in prearranged 30 or 60-second spots.
What We Can Do
Enhanced Underwriting Announcements on WVUD are generally recorded by WVUD’s production staff. Prerecorded underwriter announcements are not usually accepted. Announcements may include information which identifies but does not promote the underwriter including:
• the name of the underwriter.
• the underwriter’s products and/or services
• the underwriter’s corporate slogan (as long as it is not a promotional statement).
• the location of the underwriter’s business.
• the underwriter’s telephone number.
• the underwriter’s web address.
What We Cannot Do
Enhanced Underwriting Announcements on WVUD may not:
• be commercials.
• call to action.
• use qualitative language.
• mention prices.
• endorse a product or service.
Examples of Permitted and Prohibited Announcements
LOGOGRAM: “Get MET, it pays.”
LOGOGRAM: “GE, we bring good things to life.”
Analysis: The MET logogram is a call to action. The GE logogram does not call upon the listener to do anything.
ANNOUNCEMENT: “A portion of this show is underwritten by Speedy Lube, where you can now get a 10-point oil change and lube for the unbelievably low price of just $12.99. So come on down to 115 Main Street for fast, reliable service.”
ANNOUNCEMENT: “A portion of this program is underwritten by Speedy Lube, located at 115 Main Street. Speedy Lube provides oil changes and other car maintenance services.” Speedy Lube 555-6565.
Analysis: The first text mentions price and contains two calls to action. The second text identifies the sponsor, the sponsor’s address, telephone number and product line, and establishes a relationship to the program.