Ingredients: We’ve given you the basics of the SOPA but now you have to tailor it to your station’s likes and for it to be something that your community will consume. Everyone needs to eat but everyone has different tastes. You have to make a SOPA that your station strongly supports and feels good about offering it to as many people as possible.
In mixing your SOPA determine the station’s policy, rules and regulations for each one of the following issues. You can also carve out and state the exceptions if any. Take your time and sift them carefully before mixing them with the other ingredientes.
Time of Spots: When can sponsorship announcements be made? Check with your Traffic and Programming Departments to determine at what time breaks are available and during which programs.
Length of Spots: How long will the spots last? Are 15, 30, and/or 45-second announcements allowed? Remember that the NPR Underwriting Rules and Regulations establish that an announcement of 60 seconds or more is a no-no because it can appear that your station is endorsing a promotion or service.
Frequency of the Spots: How many spots will be aired per day? Will a spot be aired, three, four times a day; less? More? Do you subscribe to the formula that can determine how many times a message should be repeated so that your listeners hear it. Research the FCC Rules and Regulations for Underwriting so you know what’s permitted and don’t end over promoting the sponsor.
Underwriting on your Website? Is your station willing to have this option? What restrictions will be established if any? Do you have the tools and personnel to develop it and make it work?
Who Can Underwrite/Sponsor a Program? Current supporters, friends of your staff, your Board of Directors, sponsors should all be told about your SOPA. The more, the merrier! Word about your SOPA can spread among your community via the grapevine. Can nonprofits sponsor paid PSA?
Opening/Closing Statement: Are you going to use identical introductions for every spot? What will the wording be? Some examples: This program comes to you thanks to the support of…name of the sponsor. It is up to your station to decide which one is right for you.
Taped spots? Is your station going to accept recorded spots? Are there any exceptions? NPR does not accept taped announcements but many public stations utilize them. Our recommendation is that you research the topic to determine how your station wants to address this issue. Below are some tips that can help you.
Join the NFCB list serve. And remember to always stick to basic rules if possible. As you know, these are Guidelines, which means they are not written in stone, but must be established and respected.
Get Ready for the Next Steps: Start compiling your ingredientes and doing the necessary research to have the adequate measures for your next Receta. There you will start mixing them and enjoying the fresh aroma of it. Also start thinking about procedures. What tasks are necessary to make the SOPA cooking a successful one? Who will be in charge of each task?