As station sales teams and their underwriting clients continue to navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, many sponsors are requesting changes to copy to reflect the times. In doing so, stations are struggling with maintaining the right balance between adhering to FCC guidelines (which have not been changed), and offering sponsors flexibility in messaging in the spirit of supporting the community and preserving business for the station.
After consulting with our own legal counsel, we offer the following copy considerations for the current landscape.
In general, it is perfectly appropriate to adjust copy to reflect how an underwriter may be responding to COVID-19 in your area. Indeed, as community broadcasters, our listeners would most likely expect our sponsors to use their connection to the station to inform listeners of changes in their own services or mission as the pandemic continues to unfold. This is not “business as usual” for any of us, and public media stations and their sponsors are working hard on behalf of the communities we serve. That said, stepping into new copy territory can be challenging, and it may be helpful to keep the following in mind: