Payola and Plugola

Payola (Promotion & Consideration)

A commercial is “consideration in return for airtime.” Consideration means not only money but also tickets, merchandise, or any other item of value. When you receive any article of value from a business or person and then mention a product or service on the air, there is a danger that the mention could be construed as a promotional commercial.

Non-promotional, bland language should be used, as found in underwriting announcements when mentioning ticket give-always and the like. The monetary value of any event or item, even saying it is “free” may not be said on the air.

You may not receive gifts in exchange for airtime. This problem is sometimes referred to as “payola” (getting something in exchange for saying how great it is on the air).

Plugola (Programmer Financial Gain)

“Plugola” is similar to “payola.” It occurs when a show is used to promote or publicize any product, service, or event in which the programmer has a financial stake. Airtime may not be used by a programmer to promote direct or indirect personal financial gain.

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Please contact us if you have questions or need help:

  • Ursula Ruedenberg, Pacifica Affiliates Coordinator / 510-812-7989 / 
  • Stephanie Schubert, Network operations coordinator /