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FCC Cautions LPFM About Airing Ads

FCC Cautions LPFM About Airing Ads

The FCC slapped an LPFM licensee on the wrist for running ads. LPFMs are supposed to air underwriting announcements. The commission admonished Technology Information Foundation, Ltd., licensee of low power noncommercial educational FM Station WLFK(LP), Eau Claire, Wis., for broadcasting advertisements. The commission also said the station didn’t supply requested information in response to a commission inquiry.
Five announcements were involved in the case: Northern Safari Army Navy Store, Westside Cycle, The Barstow Café, Advanced Audio Systems and Union Records/Tru Trax. The FCC found the announcements for the first two “exceeded the bounds” for what is allowed for underwriting announcements. The language used to describe the services uses comparative and qualitative descriptions and references that sought to induce patronage.
In its admonishment, the FCC recommended that WLFK review its promise to air “pre-recorded sixty-second announcements” that give listeners information about the underwriter, noting the longer the mention, the “more promotional they tend to be.” The commission called WLFK’s announcement length “excessive” at :36 to :49, and recommended it reform.
The agency admonished Technology for “failing to respond to our specific question” about what the station meant by promising sponsors they would receive “favorable mention on our morning show and station breaks.” The agency said Technology said it would explain later, and then didn’t.
The commission reminded Technology that licensees can’t “pick and choose which portions” of bureau inquiries it can respond to.