In (noncommercial) community radio, the term underwriting is to noncommercial radio just as advertising is to commercial radio. Likewise, instead of airing commercials, community radio airs: spots, mentions, and acknowledgements, which are often used interchangeably, and are used to identify factual information, not to promote a particular thing or idea.

As a noncommercial educational community radio station, KFAI falls under a set of guidelines set forth by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that governs how we operate.

Official language from the FCC: “Noncommercial educational stations may acknowledge contributions over the air, but they may not broadcast commercials or otherwise promote the goods and services of for-profit donors or underwriters. Specifically, acknowledgements may not contain comparative or qualitative descriptions, price information, calls to action, or inducements to buy, sell, rent, or lease. Acceptable “enhanced underwriting” acknowledgements of for-profit donors or underwriters may include: (1) logograms and slogans that identify but do not promote; (2) location information; (3) value-neutral descriptions of a product line or service; and (4) brand names, trade names, and product service listings. However, these acknowledgements may not interrupt the station’s regular programming. For additional information about the underwriting rules, see and”

As an underwriter, also referred to as a sponsor, program/station underwriter, and program/station sponsor, informative and concise announcements inform the listeners of your business, illustrate that you value community radio, and air during times when the people you want to reach are listening.

What We Can Say About You

  • The name of your business/organization.
  • The physical location, web address, email address and/or phone number where our listeners can reach you.
  • The value-neutral facts about your services.
  • A factual highlight like, “serving the Twin Cities since 1978.”
  • Factual details about your upcoming event and where to find more information.

What Can’t Be Said

  • Pricing information, such as “tickets are $15 in advance or $25 at the door.”
  • Direct requests and calls to action, such as “stop by our store” and “go here, now.”
  • Unsupported or subjective language like, “the only place in the Twin Cities for the hits.”
  • Inducements to purchase, such as “six months; free service” and “buy now; pay later.”
  • Qualitative or comparative language, such as “your #1 choice for Folktronica.”
  • Subjective language, such as “easy to access.”
    • Find out more about FCC noncommercial underwriting policies here.

    We Can Help Your Business

    Support from underwriting significantly contributes to sustaining and growing the programming on an off the KFAI airwaves. While we are subject to stricter rules for business underwriting messages than a commercial radio station, chances are that we can say what you want us to. We just may not be able to use some of the words you might first think of. We know the rules, and we can work with you to get your message out.

    Tell us what you want to say – not in specific words, but in broad terms. Then let us work out the details. We’ll get your message out, and our listeners will appreciate the fact that you support KFAI without the invasiveness of traditional advertising.

    Copy Length

    A fifteen second message uses between 40 and 45 words. A twenty-five second message uses between 75 and 80 words. This is the number of spoken words — so a street address and phone number each count in words as the quantity of numbers they have (so, for example, a typical phone number counts as seven words).


Your support makes all the difference.