How public broadcasting might sound without public funding

One of the reasons public broadcasting gets public support is that they’re not allowed to say certain things in their “underwriting announcements.” It’s illegal, for example, to issue a call to action (“Programming on WXXX is brought to you by Joe’s. Eat at Joe’s”).

Underwriting announcements also can’t contain certain facts, like the interest rate a bank is giving on CDs.

With more threats to cut public funding, in this case from the state, two Arizona stations are petitioning the FCC to allow them to experiment with loosened rules, the public broadcasting newspaper, Current, reports today.

“As federal support has declined (and ultimately may be eliminated), it has become necessary to consider how NCE stations should be permitted to compensate for the loss of federal support,” the station’s attorney wrote in his request to the FCC.

It said the experiment would provide an opportunity to gauge listener and underwriter reaction to the expanded announcements in case federal funding is eliminated and stations have to figure out another way to finance operations.

  • Jeff

    I don’t think the lack of a call to action makes much of a difference. Really, what’s the difference between, “Information is available. 1-800-555-1212.” which is what you hear now and “Information is available. Call 1-800-555-1212.” which is what you may hear. As long as public radio doesn’t start running ads (er, I mean underwriting announcements) more frequently I don’t think it will detract from the broadcast. And if the changes mean less time doing pledge drives, all the better!