FCC invites comments on proposal by coalition of nine radio licensees to shift sponsorship IDs primarily to Internet
In an unusual petition that was filed last November – but took five months to hit the FCC’s public radar screen – a group of radio station owners is asking the Commission to waive the sponsorship identification requirements for a “defined class of qualifying radio broadcasters”. While the prospects for a grant of the requested waiver may be limited (because it may be asking for something the FCC can’t provide), the fact of the request itself raises some interesting questions.
The petitioners, who call themselves the Radio Broadcasters Coalition, consist of nine companies, including several major radio group owners – iHeart Media (née Clear Channel), Emmis, Cox, Entercom, Greater Media, among others. According to the FCC’s summary, they would like the Commission to let “radio broadcasters airing music or sports programming … provide information about sponsored material through a combination of less frequent on air announcements together with enhanced online disclosures.”
Under the proposal, a qualifying radio station would, after a three-week “listener-education” period, have to make on-air sponsorship ID announcements only once each day (sometime between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.), notifying listeners generally that (a) some programming on the station had been sponsored by certain identified sponsors and (b) listeners can find more details on the station’s website. At its website, each qualifying station would have a page, specifically accessible through a tab or link identified as “Enhanced Disclosure of Sponsored Programing”, containing “enhanced” sponsorship ID information. Such information would include a list of the names of sponsors, the names of the programs in which the sponsored material had aired, a list of the artists and music (or sports teams) affiliated with particular sponsor entities, and the types (but not amounts) of payments/services exchanged between sponsors and the station.Continue Reading...