Broadcast Renewal Trifecta: Improper "Menu" Underwriting Announcements, "Renewal Expectancy" . . . and Chesterfields!
Staff renews NCE-FM license – but not before fining the licensee for including too much detail in underwriting announcements, admonishing it for overly relying on PSA’s, and referring it to the Department of Justice for cigarette advertising!
A relatively obscure Audio Division decision involving the renewal application of a noncommercial educational (NCE) “community” radio station in Batavia, Ohio hits the trifecta. It sheds interesting (if not entirely illuminating) light on the standards governing noncommercial underwriting practices. It touches on the apparently-forgotten-but-not-gone question of the adequacy of nonentertainment programming performance for renewal purposes – an area of potentially vast consequence to all broadcasters. And as an extra bonus, it reveals the FCC’s current regulatory take on cigarette advertising.
There’s something for everybody here. Not all of it, though, makes much sense.
The case arose when a presumably disgruntled former officer of the licensee filed an informal objection directed to the station’s license renewal application last year. According to the complaint, the station had violated the prohibition against airing “commercials” on at least three occasions. Further, during the last five months of the license term, the station had broadcast no issue-responsive programming other than some PSA’s aired between midnight and 5:00 a.m. At least that’s what the complainant claimed. The Division has now granted the renewal, but not before running the licensee through the wringer several different ways.Continue Reading...