A pair of noncoms, one FM and one TV, have been hit with FCC fines for straying over the underwriting line into the realm of commercialism. Lancaster Educational Broadcasting Foundation, licensee of WFCO-FM Lancaster OH was hit for $7.5K and Independence Public Media of Philadelphia’s WYBE-TV Philadelphia was nailed for $2.5K.
The FCC noted that it tries to provide some leeway to allow an underwriter to be properly identified. But: “Specifically, such announcements may not contain comparative or qualitative descriptions, price information, calls to action, or inducements to buy, sell, rent or lease.” This was where the FM went wrong. For example, an announcement for a lender had this sentence: “It provides the ultimate flexibility for your borrowing needs and tax advantages not available on other types of credit.” And for a hotel: “Your best hotel choices are right here at the airport.”
The television station was caught because it ran a program intended for commercial television, with commercials embedded. The program was “Asian Variety Show.”