Wed, May 27, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Radio operators call for grace period

TIME CONSTRAINTS:Voice of Taiwan chairperson Liao Wan-chih said that the NCC should raise a cap on a program’s advertising time to avoid enforcement problems

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s radio broadcasters yesterday said that they should be given a one-year transitional period to adjust to new proposed regulations on radio stations that accept sponsorships from advertisers, adding that the National Communications Commission (NCC) should consider increasing the time allowed for commercials to avoid problems in the enforcement of the regulations.

The new regulations are to allow radio stations to disclose the names of program sponsors, including product brands and specifications, as well as the service provided by the sponsors. However, they are banned from highlighting the prices and effectiveness of the sponsors’ products. Radio stations are also to be prohibited from offering sponsors’ service numbers or publishing any message encouraging consumption of the products.

Meanwhile, the new regulations stipulate that a one-hour radio program can broadcast information from a sponsor for no more than four minutes, and such information can only be advertised on four occasions through the course of the program.

However, the time needed to air a sponsor’s information will not be counted as a program’s time for commercials, which are capped at 15 minutes in a one-hour program.

The new regulations also listed several other restrictions.

Both news programs and children’s program are prohibited from accepting sponsorships from private businesses. In addition, sponsorships from from tobacco companies, international matchmaking services, pharmaceutical companies manufacturing drugs that require prescriptions from doctors, political parties and other illegally-traded goods or services are no longer permissible.

Sponsorships related to alcoholic beverage producers are only allowed at certain times of the day.

Taiwan Broadcasting Co CEO Ma Chang-sheng (馬長生) said that, rather than capping how many times a sponsor’s information can be transmitted to four times for each one-hour program, the commission only needs to limit the air time used to broadcast the information to four minutes, as some ads require a longer air time.

Ma also said that the commission should be more lenient in terms of the types of information that radio stations are allowed to broadcast, including the price, effectiveness and even the advertising jingle of a product manufactured by a sponsor, as well as the sponsor’s contact information.

Voice of Taipei chairperson Liao Wan-chih (廖婉池) said that the NCC should instead raise the advertising time limit from 15 minutes of a program’s time.

“Advertising is in a sense a kind of sponsorship, and it is unnecessary to distinguish between sponsorship and an advertisement, because such a distinction will only create problems when the regulations are enforced,” Liao said. “Radio operators should decide if they want more commercials that hurt the quality of their programs or fewer commercials to raise a program’s value.”

Some radio operators also said that, unlike television, radio can only convey information through audio, and they should be allowed to broadcast information that is banned for TV sponsors.

While radio operators are open to accepting sponsorships from advertisers, results of an NCC survey showed that most people are fine with radio operators broadcasting a sponsor’s information in programs, as long as they are not trying to sell anything and disclose the information of the products to be verified.

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