DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NON-COMMERCIAL & COMMERCIAL RADIO

WPRK is owned by and ultimately accountable to the Rollins College Board of Trustees. WPRK will abide by all Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations as they pertain to the operation of non-profit, non-commercial FM college stations.

Although not obvious to the casual listener, not all radio stations are created in the same manner.  There are two distinct types of radio stations: commercial radio and noncommercial radio. From the perspective of a musician trying to get their songs played on the radio, or a radio promotion company, the difference in these stations is more than formatting.

Non-commercial radio, also called non-comm., encompasses college radio and community based radio stations, including local NPR affiliates. Though these stations may carry advertising, it is widely spaced, unobtrusive and not the main source of station funding. Commercial radio, on the other hand, is just the opposite. The commercials are frequent and commercial breaks between songs may be quite long. Advertising is the source of the station budget on these stations.

For anyone doing a radio promotion campaign, these distinctions are significant. Why? Because non-commercial radio tends to have more flexibility in their playlists; furthermore they tend to be more willing to play music from up-and-coming artists and non-mainstream artists than commercial radio. Up-and-coming musicians usually break into radio through non-commercial radio, and it may be the only sector of radio on which some genres of music are played regularly. These notions are especially true for indie musicians and musicians operating in niche genres.

Non-comm radio stations’ flexibility exists because their funding does not rely solely (or at all) on advertising dollars. Although non-comm needs listener numbers to keep their independent sources of funding, which varies between non-comm stations, they do not require the kinds of ratings commercial radio stations need to show to advertisers and convince them to spend money with the station. That means that they can afford to take a chance on a new artist to expose to their listeners. The scenario is a little bit chicken or egg – non-comm radio listeners tend to be the most open to new music of all radio audiences, and in fact, by playing new artists, non-comms are usually giving their audiences exactly what they want. However, because they do not need as large an audience as a commercial radio station does, they can afford to lose the listeners who do want to hear music by established artists that they encounter in national magazines, television, newspapers and tours. It is a self-reinforcing cycle that works in favor of indie music.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

WPRK supports being an outlet for all voices regardless of race, gender, age, and sexual orientation both on air for DJs and in office for our staff.

It is the policy of WPRK not to discriminate against any position of membership on the basis of sex, disability, race, age, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, physical characteristics, or any other category protected by federal, state, or local law, in its educational programs, admissions policies, financial aid, employment, or other school-administered programs. The policy is enforced by Rollins and, where applicable, federal laws such as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of (1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. The College is an equal opportunity educational institution.)

Public File

The public file is available to view Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Any DJ who has a show during this time must allow a FCC representative or any inquiring citizen to peruse the file upon request. Copies of documents within the file may be produced, but no one should ever take any document within the public file outside of the station. The public file is located in the station lobby.

For more information about the FCC Public Inspection File (PIF) requirement, please visit

http://www.fcc.gov/eb/broadcast/pif.html