The FCC reached a Consent Decree with a noncommercial radio licensee that acknowledged having run underwriting announcements that “promoted the products, services or businesses of its financial contributors.” Cesar Chavez Foundation agreed to pay a penalty of $115,000, which the commission said was the highest penalty ever imposed on a noncommercial broadcaster for violations of the underwriting rules.
Last week, the FCC reached a consent decree with a noncommercial broadcaster, where the broadcaster paid an $8000 penalty for, among other things, running underwriting spots that were too promotional. Not all noncommercial stations realize that, while their ability to promote a commercial enterprise is limited, these same restrictions do not apply to on-air spots for other nonprofit organizations.
PBS will begin breaking into programs with underwriting and promo spots four times per hour on an experimental basis beginning this fall in an effort to keep viewers tuned in. The move could be controversial for the network, which has traditionally prided itself on offering uninterrupted programming over its 40-year history.