Sponsorship ID Class Waiver Petition Comments Due 4/13

The Radio Broadcaster Coalition (RBC), comprised of nine companies that own radio stations, has filed a petition with the FCC seeking a narrowly focused waiver of the sponsorship identification announcement requirements. The RBC requests that a defined class of radio broadcasters be permitted to provide information about sponsored material through a combination of enhanced online disclosures and less frequent on-air announcements. The requested waiver would only extend to music and sports programming aired on radio stations with websites that elect to comply with certain criteria; the waiver would not apply to sponsored content appearing within news, informational, or political programming, regardless of the station format.

Under the proposal, covered broadcasters would be required to maintain information regarding sponsored music and sports programming at a separate and distinct section of their website labeled “Enhanced Disclosure of Sponsored Programming.” The specific information would include the name of the sponsor, the name of the program in which sponsored material appeared, a list of the songs played and/or sports team featured that are affiliated with the companies that supplied consideration, the type of consideration received, and the type of consideration the station agreed to provide in return. To enable access by listeners without Internet access, listeners would be able to request this information by mail, email or fax.

Broadcasters electing to participate would continue to air the currently required on-air sponsorship ID announcements; however, the format and the frequency of those announcements would change. The announcements would include all of the third-party sponsors for all of the sponsored music and sports that day and would contain a clear disclosure of the enhanced information available online. The frequency of the sponsorship ID announcements would change over time. At first, covered broadcasters subject to the waiver would conduct a three week listener-education period, during which they would continue to comply with the current sponsorship ID requirements, while also frequently airing supplemental educational announcements about the new enhanced sponsorship ID disclosures. After the three week period, a sponsorship ID announcement would be aired once daily during the most highly listened to dayparts (for example, during AM Drive, Midday, and PM Drive), rotating the sponsorship ID announcement in a different daypart daily.

Comments are due April 13, 2015 and Reply Comments are due May 12, 2015.

The Media Bureau’s Public Notice can be accessed here and the Petition can be accessed here. If you would like further information about the RCB petition, or wish to file comments in this proceeding, please contact any attorney in our office.

Categories: Media