Public Media Messaging Guidelines

Underwriting Sponsorship Messaging FCC Guidelines


88.9 WERS and HD2 WERS+ are noncommercial public radio stations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

FCC guidelines allow noncommercial stations to acknowledge contributions over the air, but not to broadcast commercials or otherwise promote the goods and services of for-profit donors or underwriters.

Underwriting differs from commercial advertising in both sound & spirit.

The public radio audience responds best to straightforward information presented in a concise, clear and sincere manner. Our corporate support team works with partners to craft announcement copy that is compliant with FCC guidelines and station policy. In this way, the special integrity of the relationship between the station and our listeners extends to our underwriters as well. 

Messages on 88.9 WERS and ERS+ are

  • 20 seconds in length
  • voiced by our staff (we do not air messaging produced outside of our facilities)
  • subject to approval by 88.9 WERS and ERS+ management


Messages on 88.9 WERS and ERS+ may include

  • standard opening line, such as "Support for WERS comes from our members, and from..." or “88.9 WERS is supported by…” or “Today’s programming is supported by …”
  • standard closing line: "More information is available at {phone number} or online at {web address}”, unless there is a registered tag line. (A registered tag line can be the closing line.)
  • sponsor's name
  • location of business
  • phone number and/or Internet address
  • value - neutral description of business, products and services


Please note, per FCC guidelines and PCBC policy, messages may not include:

  • qualitative or comparative language (“best,” “greatest,” “most reliable,” “oldest,” “largest,” etc.)
  • subjective language (“fun-filled,” “enjoyable,” “long awaited,” “by popular demand,” etc.)
  • promotional language
  • calls to action (such as “call,” “stop by,” “email,” “visit”; or phrases prompting action)
  • pricing information ("just $19.95 a month," free,” “10% percent off,”  “no down payment,” etc.)
  • inducements to buy, sell, or lease (“while supplies last,” “special gift,” “limited offer,” etc.)
  • credentials ( “board certified,” “award winning,” etc.)
  • endorsements such as “recommended by New York Times,” “the Wall Street Journal says,”  “U.S. News & World Report’s Top 10,” etc.;  pronouns such as "you," "your," "our," and "we" are not allowed in underwriting language since they suggest endorsement on the part of the station


Underwriting Examples

Comparative language

  • permitted: “Serving 50 cities in the Western United States.”
  • not permitted: “Serving more cities than any other airline.”


Qualitative language

  • permitted: “With twenty locations throughout the Puget Sound.”
  • not permitted: “With twenty convenient locations.”


Pricing information

  • permitted: “Information on rates is available online at bank dot com.”
  • not permitted: “3.7% interest rate now available.”


Calls to action

  • permitted: “More information available at [NUMBER].”
  • not permitted: “Call us at [NUMBER] for more information.”


Inducements to buy, sell, rent, or lease

  • permitted: “Tickets go on sale this Friday.”
  • not permitted: “First 100 tickets are discounted.”


Disclaimer: 88.9 WERS and ERS+ will not air funding announcements that contain language advocating for any cause, group or individual.  We reserve the right to refuse any request for underwriting that would violate an FCC rule or policy, violate station policies or adversely affect the reputation or financial condition of the station. No announcements will air on behalf of political organizations, political candidates or their committees, or that express a view on issues of public importance or interest or religious belief. 88.9 WERS and ERS+ will consider each request on a case-by-case basis.

in studio performances