FCC denies stations’ bid for looser underwriting language

A public radio licensee’s bid to boost underwriting revenue by skirting restrictions on credit language met with a flat rebuttal from the FCC May 15. The licensee of Phoenix’s KBAQ and KJZZ asked the Commission in March to approve a three-year “limited and controlled demonstration project” to relax limits on language in the stations’ underwriting credits. Maricopa County Community College District proposed allowing qualitative terms, such as “award-winning” and “experienced,” and information about sales, discounts and interest rates. Such wording is currently barred under FCC rules. Maricopa argued that the relaxed restrictions would help the stations increase underwriting income amid a challenging climate for public broadcasting funding. Continue Reading

Study finds most listeners don’t mind NPR’s embedded underwriting credits

A committee of NPR’s board voted May 8 to maintain embedded underwriting at its current level on network programs, despite concerns among station executives that the practice could harm listeners’ perceptions. Embedded underwriting credits appear within segments of NPR’s newsmagazines, rather than in the longer blocks of credits that punctuate the shows. The credits give sponsors dedicated placement alongside particular series and areas of coverage, such as business, health and technology. NPR ramped up efforts to sell embedded underwriting starting in 2011, and station leaders and programmers responded with worries that the credits were disrupting the flow of programs and giving listeners the idea that sponsors are influencing content. Late last year, NPR agreed to limit the number of adjacent spots to 11 per week and to study listeners’ reactions to the credits. Continue Reading

NPR to announce new voice of underwriting credits

NPR plans to unveil tomorrow the name of the on-air talent who has been chosen to voice its underwriting credits as a successor to longtime announcer Frank Tavares. “The NPR Announcer will become the voice of all NPR national funding credits for broadcast and digital content,” wrote Eric Nuzum, v.p. of programming, in a Oct. 21 memo to public radio station leaders that was obtained by Current. “We think listeners — and sponsors — will find her engaging.” Though Nuzum wasn't divulging the identity of the new announcer, he did reveal that the network has chosen a female. Listeners will begin hearing her announcements next month in NPR newscast and online credits, Nuzum wrote; she will take over voicing of all credits later. Continue Reading