RULE 11: Number of Permissible Underwriters
There is no limit on the number of underwriters that may contribute to a program. Given the time limitations established in RULE 10, however, the number of underwriters that can be individually acknowledged must be limited to that which can be comfortably and reasonably read within the time allowed.
If a program has more underwriters than can be comfortably and reasonably read within that time period, it will then be necessary to identify the major underwriters individually and the remainder generally. The general reference to any minor contributors must include a statement advising the public that a complete donor list is available from either PBS or the local station, whichever is appropriate. In any event, however, all this information must fit within the appropriate time period.
There is no minimum limitation on the size of an underwriter's contribution, and no maximum limitation on the number of underwriters that may contribute to the production of a program or series. In determining who are major underwriters and who are minor underwriters for purposes of specific (versus generic) identification, the FCC rules suggest that "the substantiality or insubstantiality of contributions should relate to and be determined by the actual programming costs." In general, if a generic credit is required, any funder providing less than 5% of the funding for a program or series cannot be assured of receiving identification on air, but may be subsumed in a generic credit.
PBS must be advised in any case where it is anticipated there will be more funders than can be comfortably and reasonably accommodated within the time periods established by RULE 10. PBS will help decide on a case-by-case basis whether the approach suggested by the FCC is appropriate; which funders must be individually credited and which may be generally acknowledged; and what announcement is appropriate with regard to the availability of a complete list of funders of the program.