NCSA Resource Center

What is an NCSA?

A non-commercial sustaining announcement (NCSA) is a radio or television campaign, or combination of the two, used to deliver an important, statewide, public interest message. NCSA 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 $2 worth of airtime. In some cases, the final ratio delivered is better than 3:1 or 4:1 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’s do!

Who is the “ideal” NCSA candidate?

An ideal NCSA candidate is a statewide government agency or nonprofit organization. Because the effectiveness of an NCSA 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. 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 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 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 campaigns guarantee a 2:1 delivery, and often have a 3:1 or 4:1 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 fact sheet.

NCSA Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 'ideal' NCSA 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 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 spread than a 6-week campaign.

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

Results, or return on investment, are guaranteed 2:1, but are often 3:1 or 4:1 in terms of airtime garnered. Secondly, an NCSA campaign gives an organization the ability to broadcast its message statewide, an effort that would otherwise be virtually impossible for NCSA candidates from a cost perspective.

How much does it cost to air an NCSA 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 spots be aired?

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

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

NCSA revenue helps to fund the many programs offered to the association’s members as well as keeping annual dues at a reasonable level.

What kind of confirmation is received?

NCSA candidates receive affidavits of delivery (or airtime report) to illustrate the stations their spot aired on, dates and times. 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 spot on radio or television.  All NCSA spots must be tagged with: Sponsored by (NCSA candidate), brought to you by the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association and this station. Additionally, spots cannot be voiced by publically 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 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 partner.

Airwaves Newsletter
If you are interested in receiving the MBA Airwaves E-Newsletter, fill out the form below and you'll be added to our mailing list. To see previous newsletters, click here.