FCC Fines University Station for Violating Non-Commercial Advertising Rules

The FCC has put non-commercial stations on notice that it will be enforcing is underwriting rules.  It recently fined a University of Arkansas station $76,000 for violating these rules. Remember under the FCC’s rules:

“[S]uch announcements may not contain comparative or qualitative descriptions; price information (sales or discounts); calls to action; inducements to buy, sell, rent, or lease; or excessively detailed “menu listings” of services offered by the entity.”

Most non-commercial stations realize that a “call to action” will violate the FCC’s rules.  However this case illustrates that providing details of the services provided by the underwriter may also constitute a violation. Comparative claims and pricing may also trigger a fine.

Non-commercial stations must pay close attention to the claims contained in their underwriting messages.  The FCC is watching.

For a good discussion of this issue from noted communications attorney David Oxenford click HERE.


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