NCSA/PEP Resource Center

What is an NCSA/PEP?

A non-commercial sustaining announcement (NCSA) or Public Education Program (PEP) is a radio or television campaign, or combination of the two, used to deliver an important, statewide, public interest message. NCSA/PEP candidates contract with the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association to have this message delivered statewide. This contract is secured with “grant funding” and airtime is provided on a “multiplier” basis. For every $1 of grant funding, the association will guarantee $4 worth of airtime. In some cases, the final ratio delivered is better than 5:1 or 6:1 grant funding-to-airtime value ratio.

How is it different from a PSA?

A public service announcement (PSA) is aired by a station without a monetary commitment, and is therefore aired by the station at its own discretion—if ever. PSAs are an effective and useful campaign approach for organizations who do not have access to enough funding to purchase airtime and who rely solely a station’s commitment to community service. PSAs do not hold airtime guarantees – NCSA/PEPs do!

Who is the “ideal” NCSA/PEP candidate?

An ideal NCSA/PEP candidate is a statewide government agency or nonprofit organization. Because the effectiveness of an NCSA/PEP campaign is its reach, the ideal candidate is someone who needs to communicate a statewide message.

Secondly, the ideal candidate is someone who has not/will not purchase advertising with a competitive form of media for that particular campaign. In other words, organizations who pay for regular print advertising, or who are buying time on some stations but not others, are not eligible to receive “multiplier” rates through the NCSA/PEP program. The association exists to support its members, and asking our stations to provide double, triple or quadruple an organization’s investment when the same has not been asked of other media outlets, is not justified.

Some NCSA/PEP campaigns aired by the association in the past include the Army National Guard, the Coast Guard, Transportation and Highway Safety departments, environmental services, health and human services, emergency preparedness, tourism and consumer protection.

More about the NCSA Program

NCSA/PEP campaigns guarantee a 4:1 delivery, and often have a 5:1 or 6:1 delivery ratio and is the most cost effective way to send your message statewide!

The Massachusetts Broadcasters Association makes it easy on you by managing the creative, distribution and reporting of your campaign!

Click here for a printable NCSA/PEP fact sheet.

Contact us to find out more!

NCSA/PEP Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 'ideal' NCSA/PEP message?

Whereby the ideal candidate is a statewide organization, the ideal message is one of importance to a vast majority of people within the state. Those who find NCSA/PEP campaigns to be most successful are those who have a distinct branding message, have a cause or issue that is important to the state as a whole and who has an “issue” with a long window of time. I.e. a 20-week campaign is more measurable and more easily delivered than a 6-week campaign.

What is the 'typical' ROI with an NCSA/PEP campaign?

Results, or return on investment, are guaranteed 4:1, but are often 5:1 or 6:1 in terms of airtime garnered. Secondly, an NCSA/PEP campaign gives an organization the ability to broadcast its message statewide, an effort that would otherwise be virtually impossible for NCSA/PEP candidates from a cost perspective.

How much does it cost to air an NCSA/PEP campaign?

Cost is determined on a case-by-case basis based on two, primary factors: campaign duration and whether your campaign is radio- or television-based, or both.

Where and when will NCSA/PEP spots be aired?

Accordion ContentVirtually all commercial member stations of Massachusetts Broadcasters Association air the NCSA/PEP spots—radio and television included. Participating stations air NCSA/PEP spots in various day-parts, seven days a week.

Why do stations partner with the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association and participate in the NCSA/PEP program?

NCSA/PEP revenue helps the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association fund the many programs offered to its members.  Programs include scholarship programs, job fairs, training seminars and webinars as well as assisting with compliance with FCC regulations.

What kind of confirmation is received?

NCSA/PEP candidates receive affidavits of delivery (or airtime report) to illustrate the stations their spot aired on, dates and times. The MBA also surveys stations each year to determine a value for each NCSA/PEP spot.  Those totals are supplied to NCSA/PEP partners on a regular basis.  Most stations provide this information to the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association.

Are there rules pertaining to the radio/television spot creative?

There are basically two rules of thumb when preparing an NCSA/PEP spot on radio or television.  All NCSA/PEP spots must be tagged with: Sponsored by (NCSA/PEP candidate), brought to you by the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association and this station. Additionally, spots cannot be voiced by elected officials (Governor, Mayor, members of Congress, etc.) during an election year.

It is also important that spots not be considered “issue advertising.” In other words, the NCSA/PEP program is not the proper forum for pushing a political agenda . Stations that shy away from editorializing their content will not air spots that weigh heavily on partisan issues.

Does the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association provide resources to create and distribute the spot(s)?

Absolutely, radio and television is what we are all about! Having the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association help write, record and produce your creative is the best way to ensure that your message abides by the above qualifications. We know what it is our stations like to air, why not take advantage of our resources and knowledge to create the best possible creative for your campaign!

Yes, the association distributes the spot(s) to the stations and works directly with the stations to ensure delivery success.  The Association collects all proofs of airtime (affidavits or airtime report) and provides timely reports back to our NCSA/PEP partner.

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