LAist Corporate Sponsorship Guidelines
LAist sponsor messages are distinctly different from the nature of commercial advertising. We are a 501(c)3 media organization that exists to serve the public. Our underwriting sponsorship messages do not shout at the audience or mislead them into action. They are not loaded with claims that can’t be proven. We seek to create the best sponsorships – smart, compelling statements that respect, inform, and serve our audiences.
We seek underwriting representing a broad spectrum of funding sources. All funding sources are considered under the “access” principle, which means that we have no list of sources which funding will not be accepted. We follow best practices for underwriting sponsored content including the implementation of a firewall between our business operations and our news operations. The companies that provide financial support for LAist services do not have any control over, or involvement in, our programming or editorial processes.
These Guidelines govern the recognition of corporate and other sponsors of public radio broadcast programming, digital products and services, podcasts, and the streaming of music on public radio digital platforms. The Guiding Principles and Criteria are drawn from public radio’s extensive experience with the regulation of sponsor recognition messages by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The following principles underlie these standards for sponsor recognition messages:
- The content of sponsor recognition messages in broadcast programming and on public radio digital platforms must respect and preserve the noncommercial nature of public radio. Sponsor recognition messages are not commercials, and they should be presented in a manner that maintains the uncluttered experience public radio listeners expect.
- Sponsor recognition messages should be consistent with the standards and core values of LAist. Among other things, the content and context of sponsor recognition messages should not suggest any influence by the sponsor over programming or editorial decisions.
- All messaging must be reviewed for compliance with FCC regulations, COPPA compliance (children under 13), and assessed for alignment to our content brands and audiences.
We do not accept underwriting from the following categories:
- Weapons, replica weapons, weapons manufacturers, arms, arm fairs and gun clubs
- Profanity, offensive, or discriminatory language
- Criminal activities and content depicting or promoting violence or drug use
- Sexually suggestive audio, text or images
- Political advertising – candidate, campaign committees, political parties
- Ads from any company for whom the manufacture or sale of tobacco products is the sole activity
- Sports betting (broadcast only, allowable by review for digital)
- CBD (broadcast only, allowable by review for digital)
Special Review Categories
- Ads directed at/collecting information from a child under 13
- Ads from advocacy groups and issue-oriented advocacy
- Sports betting (digital)
- CBD (digital)
- Fossil Fuel
- Crypto/Art Shares/Emerging Non-traditional Investments
- Recent publicized challenges/seeking reputation lift from scandal
- Special case advocacy organizations to review message and/or org for acceptance (ex.Mental health)
Corporate Sponsorship Committee Members and Review Process
A Committee consisting of the leaders from the following: communications director, corporate sponsorship VP, the President/CEO, key executives, and a representative from the DEI ERG team. The Committee reviews and discusses the underwriting guidelines twice per year and as convenient and as emerging or urgent situations arise in the normal course of business where a deep and thoughtful review of an underwriter is needed.
The Committee will discuss, assess, and make a recommendation for each situation based on risks, benefits, and implications for the audience, LAist's reputation, and revenue impacts. They will also decide on next steps post review process.
Role of the Committee
- Routine standards and mission alignment discussion to ensure as few challenges as possible during normal business.
- Serve as a conduit for surfacing and addressing concerns.
- Review complex situations warranting pre-vetting before allowing a client to underwrite (special categories, unique reputational considerations, etc.).
- Urgent challenges regarding current clients or client messaging (audience feedback, host concerns, etc.).
- Review and assess each unique situation on its own merits.