Arizona radio stations ask FCC for looser underwriting rules

The licensee of KJZZ and KBAQ in Phoenix has asked the FCC for temporary permission to sidestep the agency’s rules governing language in underwriting announcements in a test of whether “enhanced” sponsor messages could boost income. In a March 18 letter to the FCC, the Maricopa County Community College District proposed a three-year trial window “to conduct a limited and controlled demonstration project to test a modified loosening of the Commission’s enhanced underwriting policies.” Under the looser rules, KBAQ and KJZZ would air announcements that include:

“factually accurate information concerning interest rates available at underwriter banks, credit unions, automobile dealerships, and other local businesses”;
notification of sales and special events such as discounts and promotions; and
qualitative adjectives based on factual data, such as “certified,” “accredited,” “award-winning,” “experienced” or “long-established.”

During this experimental phase, the stations would monitor listener satisfaction and revenue resulting from the enhanced announcements. If sales rose and listeners accepted the new language without complaint, other public radio stations could adopt the looser rules as well, the college district suggested. In the letter, submitted by communications attorney Ernie Sanchez, the college district cited the need to experiment as stations grapple with cuts in state funding, declines in underwriting revenue and the possible elimination of federal support for public broadcasting. “Could public radio stations remain financially viable, even with diminished federal funding, if the guidelines were simply relaxed or — expressed another way — enhanced somewhat more than previous levels?” the letter asked.

WCNY-TV is ‘stronger and moving in a better direction’

When Syracuse PBS station WCNY-TV announced that its September 2007 pledge drive would be its last, skeptics predicted the new policy would be short-lived. But five years later, the station is still proudly pledge-free and its leaders say they have no regrets.

Health coaches in Pledge Pipeline

Pledge Pipeline 2012-13

Current’s Pledge Pipeline previews 17 shows heading to public TV on-air membership drives in December 2012 and March 2013.

“Inspire Nebraska” capital campaign raises $25 million

The NET Foundations for Television and Radio have exceeded a five-year, $25 million capital goal for their “Inspire Nebraska” campaign. “It was a major-giving campaign, but members grew tremendously,” said foundations Executive Director Jeff Beckman. “And, even more important, we are now positioned to raise more major and planned gifts in the future.”

Since the push began in 2007, NET membership revenue has grown by 50 percent, the number of members has increased 35 percent to nearly 25,000, and assets of the endowment have topped $10 million, Beckman said. The campaign concluded June 30. The campaign will fund both television and radio programs, including NET News and NET Sports productions, which cover more than 200 hours of local high-school and collegiate sports annually.

PBS to produce sessions on TV fundraising at PMDMC

Next year’s Public Media Development and Marketing Conference, the annual event organized by pubradio’s Development Exchange Inc., will include a new track for pubTV professionals, produced by PBS. The conference runs July 12-14 in Seattle. The track will focus on pledge practices, fundraising and community engagement around children’s programming, and television-specific research. DEI and PBS announced the collaboration in a statement Dec. 6.

DEI Benchmarks Award, 2011

New Hampshire Public Radio was cited for outstanding performance in fundraising. NHPR, based in Concord, ranks among the most efficient public radio outlets in converting listeners into givers, and it raises more net underwriting revenue per listener-hour than peer stations, according to DEI’s Benchmarks analysis, which evaluates fundraising performance across the public radio system. The New Hampshire network’s achievements in major-gift fundraising are especially impressive, according to Joan Kobayashi, g.m. of KMFA in Austin, Texas, who announced the award this summer during DEI’s Public Media Development and Marketing Conference in Pittsburgh. NHPR’s program for soliciting donations of $1,000 and higher has increased its revenues 60 percent over the past five years. The gains are especially notable because New Hampshire ranks near the bottom of all 50 states in charitable giving, she said.