The purpose of business sponsorship (underwriting) is to support the important mission of WSKG Public Media. These underwriting guidelines seek to preserve the non-commercial nature of WSKG Public Media, consistent with FCC requirements. Our listeners value our non-commercial characteristic as part of what makes public radio unique in sound and substance. It is critical that, in addition to providing exceptional programming, we maintain a non-commercial, uncluttered and intelligent environment, keep listeners engaged during breaks and air underwriting announcements in keeping with our programming values, as well as with FCC requirements (see Sections 317 and 507 of the Communications Act and Section 73.1212 of the FCC’s Rules). Your underwriting support represents a partnership between your organization and WSKG, and demonstrates your commitment to community service and quality programming.
WSKG reserves the right to reject any underwriting announcement, in its sole and complete discretion, for any reason, including perceived or potential adverse impact on WSKG Public Media, its mission, its staff and its broadcast stations. An announcement must identify, but may not promote, the underwriter, its services, facilities or products. It may not express the underwriter’s views on any matter of public interest or importance. It may not support or oppose any political candidate. And it must be scheduled so as not to interrupt a station’s programs. To maintain the consistency of our sound, all messages are live reads or are prerecorded by a station voice.
Underwriting announcements may:
- Describe your business.
- Identify facilities, services or products or (no more than five items per announcement).
- Describe your corporate mission.
- Inform the public of events you sponsor.
- Include a corporate slogan, so long as it is not flagrantly promotional.
- Include a web address, phone number or street address for your business.
- Indicate the number of years you have been in business.
- Include the name of a nonprofit organization you support, although it must be clear that you are providing the funding for the announcement.
Underwriting announcements may not include:
- Qualitative language. (e.g., award-winning, leading, etc.)
- Comparative language. (e.g., better, best, oldest, etc.)
- A call to action. (“Visit our store…”).
- An inducement to buy, sell, rent or lease.
- References to price or value.
UNDERWRITING ORGANIZATIONS AND ADVOCACY GROUPS
To respect the prohibition against accepting payment for the expression of any “views,” WSKG does not accept underwriting from political organizations, nor will it accept a message advocating a political party or a candidate for office.
WSKG reserves the right, in its sole and complete discretion, to reject underwriting by organizations that seek to influence matters of public concern as a substantial part of their business or mission, including any organization which makes or has made a 501(h) election. In no circumstances will the language of an underwriting announcement be permitted to express an opinion on matters of public concern, on pending or existing legislation, or otherwise advocate positions on controversial matters
In keeping with WSKG’s complete reservation of rights, WSKG reserves the right to determine that an underwriter, the underwriter’s business or interests, or the content of a proposed announcement are inconsistent with the best interests of WSKG, including the station’s mission, or would undermine community support for WSKG. In these cases, sponsorship may be declined.
CORPORATE DIVISIONS AND SUBSIDIARIES
If the funding comes from a bona fide operating division or subsidiary of a corporation, that division or subsidiary may be identified by its logo or name. It is not necessary to identify the parent corporation, but it is permissible to do so (e.g., a credit may be given to Lincoln-Mercury or to the Lincoln-Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company).
In some cases, the name of a corporation and its brand are the same; for example, Coca Cola, Apple and VISA. But in some cases, brand names are not the same as the corporation’s name, nor are they bona fide divisions or subsidiaries of the parent company. For example, “Jell-O” is a brand owned by Kraft, “Crest” is a brand owned by Procter & Gamble, and “Tylenol” is a brand owned by McNeil Consumer Products Co. Brand names that are not corporate entities may still be identified as an underwriter provided that the corporate owner of the brand name, i.e., the accountable entity, is also fully and clearly disclosed on-air.
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES & TOBACCO PRODUCTS
Underwriting by makers and distributors of alcoholic beverages, including wine and beer, are permitted. Credit language must be restrained in tone, and should not involve product descriptions, other than that necessary to identify the sponsor’s line of business.
Underwriting from diversified companies engaged in the manufacture of tobacco products (e.g. Altria, formerly Philip Morris) is acceptable, but specific references to tobacco products are not allowed.
INSTRUMENTALITIES OF GOVERNMENT
Underwriting by governments, or instrumentalities of government, is permitted under certain circumstances. Underwriting from politically or policy-oriented instrumentalities of government, including foreign countries, will not be accepted. At the same time, we encourage underwriting by government agencies or government funded organizations that are engaged in commerce, tourism or public education.
RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS
Underwriting by churches or other religiously affiliated groups is acceptable. However, given that most listeners will be of different religions, care should be given to ensure that underwriting messages are appropriate to the context of public radio, consistent with our publicly-supported mission and funding profile, and not unacceptable to those listeners who may not share the underwriters’ religious perspective. A reasonable listener test will be applied under these circumstances. The previous rule concerning advocacy groups would also apply to these organizations. In addition, this rule prohibits proselytizing language or other language intended to draw distinctions between different religions.
LOTTERIES AND CASINOS
Underwriting by lotteries or casinos that identifies or describes their gambling activity is not permitted. Language that identifies a casino as a concert venue would be acceptable.
While underwriting by entities engaged in the manufacture or marketing of personal products is acceptable, such underwriting may not be appropriate for certain programs or in certain day parts. Such determination will be made by WSKG on a case-by-case basis.
WSKG retains full and complete control over all content on its broadcast stations and media platforms, including underwriting content. The station exercises absolute editorial control over all broadcast content, including underwriting announcement copy, and reserves the right to reject or edit copy to conform to station and FCC guidelines. The station shall decline any underwriting or donation if the underwriter or donor insists upon editorial rights over any program.
These guidelines were updated on November 4, 2014.