Community Media/KRUU FM/Book/Volunteer Handbook

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Organizational Structure


The mission of KRUU is to give Fairfield a voice and strengthen the community by encouraging creativity, dialogue and community involvement. KRUU is an open, inclusive, diverse forum for music, creative expression, information, and entertainment. It is a non-commercial, non-profit, community-supported low-power radio station with a strong emphasis on locally created and produced programming.

As a non-commercial radio station we offer an alternative to mainstream media. We do not advertise over the airwaves. We recognize some of the financial support we receive in the form of sponsorships and we promote cultural and political events in the form of co-sponsorships, but our goal is to inform, not to advertise.

As a listener-supported radio station, we will organize periodic on-air fundraisers to ask listeners to support us by buying making a donation and becoming supporting members of the station.

We are a volunteer-operated station. More than 400 volunteers produce and broadcast more than 80 different radio programs every week. Our Board of Directors is made up of four volunteer members, while our Board of Advisors consists of 15 volunteers.


We’re makin’ it, baby!


As a matter of public policy during the Clinton Administration, the Federal Communications Commission opened a “window of opportunity” for low-power FM (LPFM) radio, which was to be community-based and to allow a seriously local orientation to the programming.

The FCC did this because the economics of the marketplace in commercial radio drove (and continue to drive) the stations to chase a certain narrow demographic in their audience. While this may be legitimate in economic terms, it does seriously limit the potential to explore the incredible scope of radio.

By encouraging community-based LPFM, the FCC hoped that at least some of the radio spectrum could escape the driving forces of the marketplace and would help local communities establish a sense of “village.” So, they permitted LPFM, which did not present an economic threat to the commercial stations and which addressed other needs that commercial radio simply could not.


The Board of Directors is currently made up of 4 committed Fairfieldians:: Steve Cooperman James Moore Steve Fry Roland Wells

Board responsibilities are as follows:

  • Set direction and policy
  • Select and oversee Station Manager
  • Select and oversee Committees, including Programming Committee
  • Steward the financial well-being of the station
  • Develop, update, and create policies necessary to fulfilling the station’s mission
  • Help to resolve disputes and conflicts that arise within the station and act as an appeal body for decisions made at the Committee level

The Station Manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the station and is a member of the Programming Committee. This staff position reports to the Board.

Committees are made up of volunteer programmers, community members and staff who work together to manage the station’s many different operating areas. Currently the only committee is the Programming Committee, which reviews new program ideas and proposals; ensures the development of new programming; reviews and evaluates existing programs; refines and updates programming policies and ensures programmers’ compliance to those policies.

Advisory Board members represent a broad spectrum of the community and meet 2-4 times a year to give feedback and input to Board of Directors.

CONTACTS – a quick reference

The KRUU contact list is posted above the phone in the studio. Listed below are a few of the main contacts you will need. Please see the attached organizational chart for all contacts information.

Programming: Ryan McGrady (Interim Program Director) rmcgrady at portsmouthcommunityradio dot org

Music: Chad Beisswanger (Interim Music Director) el_postino2001 at yahoo dot com

Engineering: Erik Pearce & Fran Clark (Engineering Co-Chairs) engineering at portsmouthcommunityradio dot org

Production: Eric Reuter & Alex Case (Production Co-Chairs) production at portsmouthcommunityradio dot org

IT & Equip Problems: Jim Layton 603.433.7174

News: Lars Trodson (Interim News & Public Affairs Collective)

Training: Jenny Petersen & Doug Simmons (Training Co-Coordinator) training at portsmouthcommunityradio dot org

Volunteer Coordination: Elissa Margolin (Volunteer Coordinator) volunteer at portsmouthcommunityradio dotorg

Programmers’ responsibilities

Being part of a show and working at KRUU is a privilege, not a right, and comes with certain responsibilities:

The responsibility to treat everyone at the station (staff, programmers, volunteers, guests, and other members) with respect and consideration. The responsibility to familiarize yourself with the legal responsibilities and restrictions concerning broadcasting as they relate to your show. The responsibility to complete any training required for your work at the station. The responsibility to contribute two hours of non-programming time each month to support the work of the station. The responsibility to sign and honour a Programmers’ Contract outlining the expectations KRUU has for its programming members. The responsibility to keep the Station Manager informed of your current email address and phone number(s). The responsibility to sign in and out of the Security Log when you enter and leave the station.

Station Operations

Logging In

Every person entering the station must sign into the Security Log by the front door, writing very clearly their full legal name and the date and time when he or she is entering. Likewise, every person leaving the station must sign out of the Security Log by clearly writing the time that he or she is leaving. A copy of the Security Log form is attached in Appendix III.

Preventing Theft

In recognition of the valuable and vital resources of our station, Co-op Radio has a zero tolerance policy on theft. If something is taken from the station without permission and is not returned by the next business day, this is considered theft. Any form of theft from the station will result in an immediate and indefinite ban from the station. To help prevent theft, please follow these important security procedures at all time:

Do not leave doors propped open for any reason at any time. If you see an open door, close it! Doors that need to be locked will lock by themselves when shut.

Be aware of who is at the station when you are, and keep an eye on people you don’t know. Don’t let people into the building at night and on weekends unless they are programmers, on-air guests coming for an interview, or members in to pay pledges.

If you see people walking out with station property (CDs, audio equipment, microphones or office equipment), stop them! Ask their names and find out whether they have obtained permission from staff to borrow or remove the items.

If you see station equipment that has been left unsecured, put it in a safe place or lock it away and inform the Studio Technician via email or a note.

If you are the only person at the station, ensure that all doors are completely shut when you leave.

Taking Calls

We don’t have a full-time receptionist at the station, so answering the phone is everyone’s job! The door buzzers ring through our phone system, so answering the phone is doubly important.

When there is no receptionist on duty, callers dialing the office line (604-684-8494) will be answered by a voice message prompting them to access any number of staff and station information mailbox extensions.

Operators on duty are expected to answer all calls to the studio line (604-684-7561) and door buzzers. Please don’t let the phones ring without answering. It could be urgent, or you may be stranding someone outside.

When you answer the phone, you are the voice of the station. Always answer by saying “Co-op Radio” and please be polite to our listeners and supporters. If a listener calls in with a question, try to answer it patiently and respectfully. If the caller wants information about an upcoming show, check the Listeners’ Guide. If they want a Listener’s Guide mailed to them, take down their name, address, phone number and email address and drop a note into the Membership Coordinator’s mailbox, or at least refer the caller to our website at If they want to become a member, take the pledge and credit it toward your program’s fundraising goal! If you can’t answer a caller’s question, ask the person to call back on the office line (604-684-8494).

If a caller wants to speak to a volunteer who is not at the station, suggest that the caller try again during the time of that volunteer’s show. Under NO circumstances should you give out any volunteer’s home phone number or email address. If a caller is persistent, take a message and put it in the mailbox belonging to that person’s show.

Making Calls

During your program, outgoing calls should be made on Studio Lines 1 and 2. Long distance calls are blocked at the station and must be made either by charging the call to a third party number, or by using a calling card or a pre-paid phone card available at most convenience stores.

At times when your program is not on the air, outgoing calls should be made on office lines 1 and 2. Please refrain from using the station’s phones to make personal calls. We only have 2 office lines, and need them to deal with station business.

Delivering Messages

Whether received by phone or in person, messages should be placed in the appropriate mailbox for staff and programmers. Mailboxes are located along the wall next to the front door of the station. They are organized alphabetically by show name and every show has one. Check your show’s mailbox regularly for messages and station updates.

Receiving Mail

Mail sent to the station and addressed to specific programmers and shows will be directed to the respective programmers or shows and placed in their mailboxes.

However, mail received by the station is the property of the station. CDs received at the station by mail or delivered in any fashion, should be directed to the Music Library. The Music Library will inform programmers and shows about incoming CDs. CDs and other music or recorded materials obtained by Co-Op Radio programmers, in their capacity as programmers of Co-Op Radio, belong to the station and should remain with the station when a programmer leaves or ceases his or her activities with the station.

Keeping Clean

ALL programmers are responsible for keeping the station clean. Each and every time you are at the station, you must clean up after yourself! Cleaning supplies are kept in the closet beside the kitchen and bathroom.

There is absolutely NO smoking permitted inside the station. There is NO food or drink allowed in any of the Control Rooms, in the studio, or near any computers. If you do bring food and drink to the station, consume it responsibly at one of the large tables provided and remember to clean up after yourself. LEAVE NO TRACE.

Playing Safe

Co-op Radio is committed to providing its staff, members and volunteers with an environment within the station that is free from harassment, discrimination and in which all can feel safe and welcome. We respect the rights of all people regardless of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, gender identity, family status, religion, disability, political belief, and social or economic condition. Co-op Radio will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment; in particular, the forms of discrimination and harassment covered by human rights legislation.

Behaviors that may contravene the station’s Safe Space policy include abusive, discriminatory or harassing behavior that demeans, humiliates, or embarrasses a person, and that a reasonable person should have known would be unwelcome is a violation of this policy. It includes actions, comments, or displays. The station has an extensive policy and protocol covering instances of this kind of oppressive behavior within the station’s doors. You can find a copy of the complete policy in the Policies binder kept underneath the Security Log alongside the Programmer Timesheets binder.

Programming Objectives

Programming objectives reflect the overall goals of the station. As a community-based, non-commercial radio station, we give preference to live, locally produced shows and local coverage of events, whether they are musical, political, or community-based.

Much of the programming heard on KRUU is simply not available through conventional media. Our main objective is to provide programming that is an alternative to other media sources. We give priority to programming that:

  • Is locally created and produced
  • Has local content and roots in the listening community
  • Encourages dialogue between community members
  • Encourages community involvement
  • Includes a diversity of voices
  • Is informative, entertaining and/or inspiring
  • Promotes technical skill-sharing
  • Respects its audience

Programming Changes

The station’s Programming Committee must approve significant changes in the format, content or personnel of any program. Such changes could be considered to constitute a new program, which would then have to be approved under the same procedure as any other new program.

Public Affairs

KRUU public affairs programming is aimed at specific interest groups as well as a general audience. We will not broadcast a program that reflects the views of only one person. In choosing public affairs programming, we give priority to programs that:

  • Have direct experience with and ties to the communities and issues they represent
  • Have a local focus and include people telling their own stories
  • Cover topics or communities that have been denied access in other media
  • Are not rooted in one ideology or dogma or in support of any government or religious authority
  • Explore many sides of an issue


KRUU’s music programming should provide access and exposure to:

  • Locally produced and performed music
  • Live guests, by phone or in the studio
  • Thematic or narrative presentations of background information and historical contexts of music, making unusual music accessible to the non-expert.
  • Styles and genres of music not generally available on commercial radio.
  • Groundbreaking and innovative new sounds.

Other Types of Programming

KRUU does not broadcast programs that are concerned with promoting or presenting a particular religion or religious point of view.

Programs concerned specifically with academic instruction will be allowed if they are organized in accordance with the programming objectives outlined above.


Individuals or agencies interested in having a live show on KRUU need to fill the following requirements:

  • Submit a Programming Proposal (see below)
  • Attend a basic training
  • Have at least one program pre-recorded that can be part of the training and will serve as a back up for future programs.
  • Signed all the required contracts and policies.


New program proposals should be submitted to the Station Manager, who will deliver them to the Programming Committee for approval. Only complete program proposals will be assessed by the Programming Committee. A complete proposal for a new program includes:

  • 2 copies of the completed new program application form (Appendix II)
  • 1 copy of a 30-60 minute audio demo on cassette, CD or mini-disk
  • Completed Volunteer Information forms for all applicants

New program proposals must meet the following guidelines:

  • The show fits in with the programming objectives of the station as mentioned above.
  • The show satisfies a programming need of the station, or offers unique programming not currently available on the air.

( The audio demo is satisfactory as to format and content, technical presentation, and strength and experience of the programmer/programming group.

Completed program proposals will be presented to the Programming Committee by the Station Manager. The program group whose proposal is being considered may be invited to attend the meeting to discuss and answer questions that the Committee might have, and to respond to any concerns raised by the report back.

The Committee may, by consensus decision, choose to:

  • Approve
  • Reject
  • Make suggestions and invite re-application

An approved program proposal cannot go to air until an appropriate time slot is available. Proposals, once approved but not yet on-air, will be placed on a waiting list.

If the Programming Committee rejects a proposal, it will advise the applicant in writing with reasons for the decision. Once an application is rejected, the Programming Committee can choose to not consider a new application from the applicant for six months from the date of rejection. Decisions of the Committee may be appealed to the station’s Board of Directors.

Once on the air, new programs will be on probation for 3 months. Within this three-month period, the Programming Committee will monitor the new program and decide whether it will be given regular program status, have its probation extended or be cancelled.

Programmers involved with new programs must complete a Station Orientation and Programmer Policy Training, and at least one member of the collective must complete Control Room A training and certification, before the program can go to air.

Programming procedures

Log Sheets

Due to KRUU and station policy requirements, the station must keep track of who operated for the show, which programmers produced the show, what time station IDs were given, when PRAs were played and what music was played. All program operators are required to fill out a log sheet in compliance with these obligations. Failure to complete a log sheet will result in a reminder notice from the Station Manager. If, within one week of receiving a reminder notice, a show does not submit a log for their program, the show may be suspended for 3 weeks. If, after being suspended, the show still fails to submit a log, the show may be cancelled.

Remember to fill out ALL sections of your program’s log sheet, including the equipment count and list of who was at the station during your show. There is a copy of the log sheet in Appendix I.

Pre-recorded Announcements (PRAs)

Station policy requires that at least one PRA (station promo, program promo or special event promo) be played during each and every show. Please refer to the PRA sheet, which lists the PRAs that are required to be played on each show. An example can be found in Appendix II.

PRAs are found on CDs in the on-air control rooms. The colour of the CD’s label identifies each category of PRA:

  • Station IDs/Stingers (blue) – a general promotional announcement for KRUU
  • Membership Promos (green) – encourages listeners to become KRUU members
  • Show Promos (purple) – promote the station’s different programs
  • Sponsorships/Co-sponsorships (orange) – announcements for special events or campaigns promoted by our sponsors; acknowledgements of our sponsors’ support for the station. These PRAs MUST be played as scheduled on the PRA sheet in each Control Room!
  • Special Programming/Special Events (red) – let our listeners know about upcoming special programs, station events or grassroots community events endorsed by the station.
  • Show Themes (brown) – music played regularly at the start or end of a certain program.

Every program should have a pre-recorded Show Promo, which other shows can play to promote the program. You can request that a PRA be produced for your show or for a special event by submitting a PRA request form to the station’s volunteer Production Committee. Contact the Station Manager for more information and guidelines.

Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

KRUU is a public service information source. Events listings and public service announcements are important aspects of our programming. Such announcements can be forwarded to the attention of programmers by staff; however it is ultimately at the discretion of individual programmers whether or not a public service announcement or event listing is aired.

There is a PSAs folder in each on-air Control Room. Any PSAs (promotional material for upcoming events or notices of public interest) that arrive by email or mail to the station are filed in these folders according to date. Make it a habit to check the folders for information of interest and ensure that the next show can find them as well.

Announcements from commercial or retail establishments or for personal individual gain are not public service announcements and will not be tolerated. Our station’s mandate is to provide information, not commercial advertising.

Station IDs

Programmers must announce KRUU’s call letters, station name and FM frequency at least once every half-hour. The time of each ID should be written on the program’s log sheet.


Many programmers choose to bring their own music to broadcast during their shows. However, KRUU’s music library is also available for use by all programmers, volunteers and staff.

Program Length

To facilitate smooth transitions between programs and to allow for station identification and promotional PRAs, half-hour programs should run for 27 minutes, 1 hour programs for 57 minutes, 90 minute programs for 87 minutes etc., leaving 3 minutes at the end of each program for transitions to be made. Each show must end at least three minutes before the next show’s start time to facilitate transitions, unless otherwise agreed upon by both shows.

Going overtime means going past the scheduled time at which the program is to end, regardless of when the show began or whether there is a show to follow. If a program goes overtime on more than 3 occasions in one 12-month period, the program may be suspended. For a first offense, programmers making the complaint will be asked to speak with the offending programmers to resolve the issue directly. For a second offense, a note will be emailed to the offending programmers and placed in the program’s mailbox at the station by the Station Manager. For a third offense, the Station Manager will deliver another note and advise the Programming Committee. The fourth time, the Programming Committee will be required to take action. Depending on the seriousness, the program may be suspended for a period from one week to three months. On a fifth offence in one 12-month period, the Programming Committee will suspend the program for a minimum of three months.


Regular programming may be pre-empted for on-air fundraising programming during the Spring and Fall Member Drives. Programmers wishing to broadcast a special fundraising program during a Member Drive, or to be pre-empted during the Member Drive, must submit a request to the Station Manager at least 8 weeks in advance. Programmers shall be informed at least one month in advance if their show is going to be pre-empted during a Member Drive.

Applications for a pre-emption outside of a Member Drive should be made in writing to the Station Manager and approved by the Programming Committee.


It is the sole responsibility of programmers to be on time for their programs. Station staff and other programmers are not responsible for filling in for programmers who fail to show up for their shows. However, all programmers are responsible for ensuring that there is audio being broadcast from the station when they leave, by placing a musical or public affairs CD on continuous play/repeat.

In the case of a planned absence, it is the responsibility of programmers to find a suitable replacement for their shows. The Station Manager must be advised of all planned absences and fill-ins. Failure to do so may result in suspension or cancellation.

All unplanned absences will be investigated and documented by the Station Manager, who will, in turn, inform the Programming Committee. In the case of unplanned absenteeism without cause, the Station Manager will send a letter of warning to the programmers involved. In the case of a second failure to provide a program in a period of six months, the program will be suspended for a period of four weeks. After a third absence in one six-month period, the program will face suspension or cancellation at the discretion of the Programming Committee.

Reporting Technical Problems

Equipment failure should always be reported to the Station Manager as soon as a problem is noticed, via a note in the Station Manager’s mailbox, email or a phone message.

Emergency Contacts

Emergency contact numbers for staff are located in both Control Rooms. DO NOT use these contacts unless there is an emergency: fire, flood, power failure, and acts of vandalism, theft or violence.

Rights To Programming

Producers of programming on KRUU have the right to copy their programming for their own use or that of their guests and listeners. Listeners should be encouraged to make a special donation to the station in exchange for copies of programming. Programming produced using equipment or facilities at KRUU cannot be sold to another broadcaster or organization without prior negotiation with the station’s Board of Directors.


Shows with multiple or rotating hosts and producers are required to designate a responsible person to act as a Co-ordinator with whom the Programming Committee can liaise.


All On-Air Operators must be trained and certified to operate out of the control room(s) they are using. The On-Air Operator is responsible for reporting any broken or faulty equipment to the Station Manager. No equipment may be moved or altered or re-patched without the permission of the Station Manager.

A program’s On-Air Operator is responsible for the security of the entire station, studio and offices during the program’s timeslot each week. The On-Air Operator must ensure that everyone at the station has signed the Security Log by the front door.

Certified On-Air Operators may be eligible to receive a keycard to provide access to one or more of the Control Rooms or to the doors of the building. This card is not transferable, and cardholders are responsible for the actions of anyone they lend or give their cards to.


All On-Air Operators must be trained and certified to operate out of the control rooms they are using. Broken or faulty equipment must be reported to the Station Manager. Programmers, members and guests should not exploit station facilities for personal use.

Control Room A

Only certified operators may operate from Control Room A. A certified Control Room A operator is one who has completed Co-op Radio Programmer Policy Training and the Control Room A training course, and has passed a certification test. If a non-certified programmer is found to be operating from Control Room A without special permission from staff, their show will be immediately suspended for 4 weeks.

Control Room B

Only certified operators are allowed to use the equipment in Control Room B. A certified Control Room B operator is one who holds a current membership with Co-op Radio, has received training in the use of the equipment in Control Room B and has been designated by the Training Committee and/or the Studio Technician to be included on the list of Certified Control Room B operators.

Only certified operators who are current programmers or artists-in-residence at Co-op Radio will be given unrestricted access to Control Room B. All other certified operators will need to make arrangements with the Studio Technician for access. Non-certified operators can make special arrangements for use of Control Room B as a studio or meeting space, on the condition that they do not tamper with any of the equipment in the control room.

In the unlikely situation where a person uses Control Room B without the above conditions being met, a report will be made to the Staff collective, who will decide what action is to be taken based on the following guidelines: The first occurrence will result in an immediate 1-month suspension from the station A second occurrence will result in a 6-month suspension from the station. A third occurrence will result in an indefinite ban from the station’s premises. Appeals to decisions of staff may be made to the Board of Directors.

Control Room C

Only certified operators are allowed to operate from Control Room C. A certified Control Room C operator is one who is a current member of Co-op Radio, has completed Programmer Policy Training and the Control Room A training course, and has passed a certification test.


Programmers may use the studio space located between the control rooms for live guests, musical performers, or other live elements needed for their show. Access to the studio is made available through a key kept in Control Room A. Use of the studio is managed using a schedule posted on the studio door. Programmers can make special arrangements with staff for the use of the studio as a space for pre-recording or meetings.

Reserving the Control Rooms and Studio

Control Rooms A and C are used for broadcasting throughout the day. However, if you are a certified operator and want to use a Control Room while it is not in use (for example, to pre-record a program or phone interview), you can sign up for a shift using the schedule posted on the Control Room door. Remember that our on-air broadcasts and training workshops are of prime importance. Production work follows in importance to both on-air broadcasting and training workshops.

Portable Equipment

CFRO has several pieces of portable audio recording equipment that can be made available for the use of programmers. Only the Station Manager or Technician may lend out portable equipment belonging to the station, though any staff member can receive returned portable equipment and place it in the Technician’s office.

Only Co-op Radio members may borrow portable equipment from the station. Borrowers may be asked to complete specialized training before being allowed to sign-out certain pieces of equipment (ie. Minidisk training for the Minidisk recorder, DAT training for the DAT recorder). Borrowers must complete a Portable Equipment Sign-Out form before equipment is loaned out. This form must list all of the items being borrowed and must also specify the date on which equipment will be returned. The form must be signed by the borrower and by the Station Manager or Technician before any portable equipment leaves the station.

Borrowers should arrange with staff for a specific time to return equipment to the station on or before the return date listed on the Sign-Out form. If equipment is returned after the date specified on the Sign-Out form, borrowers might have their borrowing privileges suspended or revoked, according to the following procedure:


  • First offense: verbal warning
  • Second offense: borrowing privileges suspended for 6 months

( Third offense: borrowing privileges permanently revoked

Upon the return of borrowed equipment, staff must complete a Portable Equipment Return form on the back of the Sign-out form, which will be kept in the Technician’s office. If equipment is damaged or lost while on loan, borrowers will be liable for costs associated with the repair and replacement of items, as determined by the Technician. Liability shall not exceed the costs incurred by the station in replacing or repairing borrowed equipment. Failure to repay the station for a requested amount of expenses incurred in repairing or replacing equipment that was damaged or lost while on loan will result in a borrower’s privileges being immediately and permanently revoked in a written letter that will be kept on file.

Co-op Radio reserves the right to request a copy of any broadcast-quality recordings made using the station’s portable equipment. Borrowers will not be responsible for the cost or labour involved in making such copies.

Decisions made by staff with regard to the implementation of this policy may be appealed to the Board.

Rental of Studios and Equipment

KRUU’s studios and equipment are available to all programmers and volunteers who have taken appropriate training. Use of the station’s studios and equipment is free of charge for all programming-related, independent, and non-commercial projects. For other projects, fees may be charged upon negotiation with the Board of Directors.


  • Two public access computers (one iMac, one PC) are available for preparing and working on station programming. Here is the Code of Conduct for the Public Access Computers:
  • The on-air operator reserves the right to refuse access to the computer terminals for any reason whatsoever.
  • All users must sign in and out on the station security log and computer sign in sheet.
  • No food or drink is permitted near the computers.
  • No copying of existing software is permitted.
  • No selling of any disks and/or software is permitted.
  • Computers may be used for ONE HOUR at a time, for a total of TWO HOURS PER DAY. The two one-hour sessions must be separated by at least one hour.
  • This is a public use computer space. Please respect the privacy of others by not viewing their screens.
  • Please refrain from viewing material that may be offensive to others.
  • It is prohibited to use this station for illegal, actionable or criminal purposes or to seek access into unauthorized areas. Infringement of copyright is prohibited. We assume no responsibility for any direct or indirect damages arising from the use of its connection to Internet services.
  • Please note that a broad range of material is available over the Internet. We do not take responsibility for its accuracy, timeliness, or appropriateness.

You must sign up to use the computers. If you are not signed up and someone else signs up in the current timeslot, you must leave the computer immediately and without complaint.

ON-AIR guidelines, policies & LAWS

These guidelines are designed to inform and empower KRUU broadcasters to make decisions about what material to broadcast over the airwaves. Radio stations are responsible for everything broadcast over their licensed frequency. All broadcasts and, by agreement with the station, all programmers are bound by certain limitations proscribed by laws originating with The Criminal Code, Common Law, the Broadcast Act, regulations respecting radio broadcasting and various other FCC policies. There are also internal station policies that influence what may be said or played on the air.

While the spirit of LPFM, and community radio in particular, embraces 1st Amendment principles and encourages freely expressive forms of communication, every radio station is nonetheless REQUIRED to conform to the standards the FCC has seen fit to set for us. That means, by association, that every radio Programmer is bound by these rules, whether we like them or not.

Additionally, KRUU may implement its own “House Rules” to follow. These are set as seen fit by the committees and Board of Directors of the station to reflect the values of the community served by KRUU. In the event that a Programmer disagrees with any station rule or policy, thoughtful and respectful discourse on the matter is encouraged. Please keep in mind again, though, that the station ultimately belongs to the community as a whole, not the individuals on-air at any given time.

The station respects the right of any member of the public to tune in and listen to KRUU Radio broadcasts. In much the same way as we strive to create a safe space within the walls of the station for all groups and individuals, likewise we work to create this kind of safe space on the airwaves.

Much of the self-expression heard on community radio is predictably objectionable or offensive to those who do not identify with the roles played by community broadcasters. The result is complaints, and due to the public nature of radio as a regulated medium, a need to process and resolve them. These guidelines offer information you will need to protect yourself and your program from complaints and legal imbroglios, as well as details about how complaints concerning on-air broadcasts will be handled by the station.

Airing Internal Correspondence

KRUU’s broadcast mandate does not include airing the internal politics of the station. Internal correspondence refers to any form of correspondence directed to programmers regarding the policies and procedures of the station. This is different from correspondence that is appropriate for the entire membership and general public. To help ensure a high standard of programming at the station, programmers are requested not to air any internal KRUU correspondence. Examples of such correspondence include disciplinary letters from the Programming Committee or from the Board of Directors.

If a programmer receives any form of correspondence enforcing the station’s policies and reads that correspondence over the air, s/he will face an immediate suspension of 3 months. If the programmer is already facing a suspension as a result of the correspondence that was issued to them, they will face an additional 3 months’ suspension. This policy refers specifically to disciplinary and internal correspondence and does not include open discussion and debate on issues occurring within the station that are relevant to the wider community.

Obscenity and Profanity

Federal policy on indecency is complicated, nebulous, subjective, and reactionary. There is not a paid government employee in Washington D.C. tuned into and screening KRUU 24 hours a day, ready to pay us a visit if we violate any law. There are, however, about 10,000 individuals who can tune in at any time of any day, and all it would take is one phone call to the FCC from one of them for any reason, and KRUU could be paralyzed.

A clear explanation of FCC regulations, accompanied by person-to-person discussion, is an important part of the KRUU training program. Any questions regarding these regulations should be relayed to your trainer. An infraction of FCC rules leading to FCC action would jeopardize the operating license of the station. To jeopardize the station is not an option.

The FCC considers a broadcast to be “indecent” if it contains “language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory activities or organs.”

For more information, please see Appendix VI, An Introduction to Indecency, prepared by Garvey Schubert Barer and made available through the National Federation of Community, and Appendix VII, Test Your IQ: Indecency Quotient.

I. Policy The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent federal agency created to regulate broadcast and non-broadcast spectrum use. The FCC is responsible for the regulation of licensing, technical operations, legal activities, and programming of all stations. Therefore, if KRUU is to remain on the air, it is imperative that volunteers comply with FCC rules at all times. KRUU on-air operators must comply with both FCC programming regulations and operating requirements as listed here.

Obscenity is never allowed on the air.

Profanity is not allowed on air. This applies to Board operators, on-air guests, callers, and pre-recorded material.

Because the fine (per utterance) for FCC violations is $25,000--which could easily put KRUU off the air--KRUU does not distinguish between indecent and obscene material. That means we do not have a “safe harbor” time in which to broadcast indecent material; we simply do not broadcast it at all, not even late at night.

Program producers who intend to air material that is questionably or potentially indecent should clear such material at a Programming Committee meeting in advance. The committee will document the reason for clearing or rejecting the material.

All programmers must sign KRUU’s “Memorandum of Understanding” which confirms their commitment to uphold KRUU’s policy on FCC compliance.

II. Definitions Material is obscene if it appeals to the prurient interest, depicts or describes sexual conduct in terms patently offensive, and taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Material is indecent if it contains language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory activities or organs.

Profanity refers to patently offensive words, including, but not limited to, the following words which the FCC has previously and specifically determined to be offensive: shit, fuck, piss, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits.

III. Procedure

If you broadcast a violation: If the violation is in pre-recorded material, IMMEDIATELY fade out. Make a note of the CD track so it does not get aired again. Do not draw attention to the mistake by any on-air comments about it. Finally, log the infraction on the comments section of the Daily Programming Log: log the time, the word and what corrective measures they took. e.g, "Pulled it off the air and made a note on the CD" and notify the station manager of the infraction and corrective measures.

If you hear a violation: If you hear a violation of KRUU policy on obscenity, profanity, and indecency, report to the Station Manager directly by contacting a member of the Programming Committee directly.

If your guest/caller violates regulations: If a guest or caller uses offensive language, the operator must cut that person off.

IV. KRUU’s response

First Offense: Warning A written warning will be given to the programmer. S/he must get in touch with the Programming Committee in order to discuss the infraction.

Second Offense: Three Month Suspension The programmer will receive a written notice stating the time period for the suspension. S/he must get in touch with the Programming Committee in order to discuss the infraction and make arrangements for her /his show to be covered.

Third Offense: Indefinite suspension of all membership privileges including on-air time. The programmer will receive a written notice of indefinite suspension. This notice will be approved by the Programming Committee.

Hate Propaganda and Abusive Comments The use of sexist, racist, homophobic or ableist remarks or materials is prohibited and may result in immediate suspension or cancellation of a program.

The regulations respecting Radio Broadcasting state that “A licensee shall not broadcast any abusive comment that, when taken in context, tends to or is likely to expose an individual or a group or class of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability.” It is illegal by the Canadian Criminal Code to advocate genocide or incite hatred towards an identifiable group.

It is important to remember that you are responsible for any guests and the remarks that they make.

Any material that could be perceived as likely to expose persons to hate, or perceived to be abusive must be thoroughly contextualized.

Balance of Opinion

Balance in the broadcasting system should be maintained in the following manner:

Responsibility for balance rests with each broadcaster and the programming it offers. Not all programming must be balanced, only that relating to matters of public concern. The need for balance increases with issues that are increasingly controversial. Individual programs need not be balanced in and of themselves, but the overall programming of the licensee should be balanced over a reasonable period of time. If the topic of an interview is political or is a contentious issue in the community, interviewers are required to make a documented attempt to interview other sides of the issue (see Appendix IV, Interviewers Record Form). It is the broadcaster’s responsibility to decide whether an issue is a matter of public concern and to determine the manner in which balance is to be achieved.

While programmers are encouraged to consider the principle of balanced coverage when undertaking programming on issues of public concern, the station only deals with matters of balance in response to specific complaints. Given the diversity of programming at the station, an issue of significant public concern is likely to be covered from a variety of viewpoints during a reasonable amount of time. If a complaint occurs about a particular area of programming, the Programming Committee will consider whether additional actions are necessary to fulfill the station’s mission of providing balanced coverage.

Libel, Slander & Defamation

Though freedom of speech is unquestioned by the Constitution, the station must abide by laws and other rules concerning the presentation of these ideas. Otherwise, we could be subject to a costly lawsuit.

Libel is a damaging untruth, regardless of intent. Libel and slander are defamatory statements. A defamatory statement is: Calculated to lower someone in the estimation of her/his peers, or cause that person to be shunned or avoided, or expose her/him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or convey an imputation on her/him disparaging to her/him in her/his office, profession, calling trade, or business. Untrue.

A true statement of fact is not actionable even if it is defamatory, but truth is often difficult to establish. To protect yourself, your show, and the station against a libel suit, remember: Your facts must be correct and you must be able to prove them.

If someone can prove damage to him or herself, or his or her business or reputation, on the basis of your false information, you and the station could be in trouble. In determining whether a particular statement is defamatory, the courts will not necessarily rely on the meaning intended by the person who made the statement, but will take into account the meaning that was understood by the people hearing it. Everyone who participated in disseminating a defamatory statement may be sued. To avoid the risks of defamation, remember these guidelines:

If you put an article on your show that was written by someone else and defames a person, the broadcaster and the station are as culpable for defamation as the person who wrote the original article. A person can be defamed even if they are not directly named, if someone listening is able to identify them through the statements being made.

The honest belief that what you said is true is not defensible under law.

It’s also not defensible to have made an “honest mistake” in good faith.

Defamatory remarks happen most often in commentaries or editorials.

Consideration must be given to how material being presented will be received by the parties referred to. Opinion pieces should be avoided unless they have been discussed and properly planned out. Any material offering commentary or judgements on specific individuals or groups must be prepared in advance and be well thought out with respect to laws regarding defamation.

Given that libel, slander, defamation and other contraventions of the Broadcast Act can put the station at serious risk of bankruptcy as a result of a lawsuit and can also jeopardize our CRTC license, the following steps will be taken for circumstances when a programmer has been found to commit libel, slander or to have contravened the Broadcast Act:

The program will be placed on probation for five years. If anyone involved with the program commits libel or slander, or contravenes the Broadcast Act on the air during this probationary period, the program will be cancelled. Programmer(s) who commit libel or slander or contravene the Broadcasting Act will be immediately suspended for 6 months from ALL programming at the station and may only be permitted to go on the air during this time to offer an apology, if such action is deemed appropriate in remedying the situation. If the station is sued and required to pay damages as a result of slander or libel, the programmer(s) responsible will be expected to pay the deductible charge on CFRO’s liability insurance coverage.

Criticism, Ridicule, Humor Concerning Persons, Groups, and Institutions

The First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech protects programming that “stereotypes” or otherwise offends people with regard to their religion, race, national background, gender or other characteristics. It also protects broadcasts that criticize or ridicule established customs and institutions, including the government and its officials. As the FCC has observed, “[i]f there is to be free speech, it must be free for speech that we abhor and hate as well as for speech that we find tolerable or congenial.” Consequently, the FCC cannot prohibit such programming. However, use of such language may leave the station open to charges of defamation (libel, slander) via civil suit. Such a suit would jeopardize the station’s ability to continue broadcasting.

Defamation: “Libel,” “slander,” and “defamation” are commonly used as synonyms in ordinary language. However, defamatory communication in writing is termed “libel” while one made via the spoken word is termed “slander”. However, because the underlying distinction is between permanent and transient communications, some jurisdictions regard all defamatory communications (even spoken statements) broadcast on radio or television as “libel.”

According to the American and English Encyclopedia of Law, a libel is a malicious defamation tending to blacken the memory of one who is dead, or to impeach the honesty, integrity, virtue or reputation, or to publish the natural or alleged defects of one who is alive, thereby exposing him to public hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy; or to cause him to be avoided or shunned or to injure him in his office, business or occupation. Statements presented as fact must be false to be defamatory. Proving to be true is often the best defense against a prosecution for libel. Truth alone may not be a complete defense. It may be necessary to show that there is a well-founded public interest in the specific information being widely known, and this may be the case even for public figures.

Elections & Referendums

Sponsored or contracted airtime is not available for political endorsement. This does not apply to political or social movements that are not vying for government power. If programmers choose to give airtime to an election or referendum campaign, it is their legal to give “equitable” time to all accredited political parties and rival candidates represented in the election or referendum. “Equitable” airtime means giving all candidates and parties some coverage (not necessarily equal coverage).

Election or referendum coverage must be oriented toward issues, not personalities or political parties. It must be interactive, balanced and provide equal opportunity. It is not meant to allow free airtime to candidates.

It is legally forbidden to broadcast a program, announcement, or comments of a partisan nature on the day before or the day of an election or referendum in the area we serve. The broadcast of election results of a riding before the polls close is also prohibited.

It is also against the law for a candidate in an election to host a radio program while his or her election campaign is underway. Programmers who are also candidates cannot carry out any on-air duties during the election period – the time the election is called through to the polls closing.

Retention of Material Broadcast: Personal Attacks & Political Editorials There are two categories of material that licensees are required to retain for limited periods: personal attacks and political editorials. Personal attacks occur when, during the presentation of views on a controversial issue of public importance, an attack is made upon the honesty, character, integrity or like personal qualities of an identified person or group. The FCC’s rules require that after a personal attack, the licensee must, no later than one week after the attack, transmit to the person or group attacked: a)notification of the date ,time and identification of the broadcast; b)a tape, script or accurate summary of the attack; and c)an offer of a reasonable opportunity to respond over the licensee’s station.

Political editorials involve the endorsement or opposition of a legally qualified candidate or candidates during an editorial. Within 24 hours after the editorial, the licensee must transmit to the other qualified candidate(s) for the same office, or the candidate(s) opposed:

  1. a)notification of the date and time of the editorial;
  2. b)a script or tape of the editorial and
  3. c)an offer of a reasonable opportunity for the candidate or a spokesperson for the candidate to respond over the licensee’s station.

The word “editorial” refers to a broadcast statement of the opinion of a licensee. “Comment” or “commentary” refers to the broadcast opinions of persons other than the licensee. Whether a statement of opinion is an editorial or a commentary will usually be made clear at the outset of the statement.

Anti-Government Remarks

It is illegal to broadcast any remark that advocates or teaches the use of force to change the government of United States (Criminal Code, section ?). This “seditious libel” law does not apply for any sort of criticism whatsoever of the existing system of law, courts constitution, etc., as long as violent overthrow is not mentioned.

False or Misleading News

The Radio Regulations prohibit the broadcast of any false or misleading news. Artistic works that imitate or recreate actual events must be contextualized in order to make the fictional nature of the work clearly apparent to listeners.

Trial Coverage and Media Bans

The need to ensure a fair trial in the courts can come into conflict with the station’s freedom to broadcast. When a legal matter is under the jurisdiction of the courts, no one should interfere with the court’s proper handling of the case. This does not mean that we cannot report and comment on a trial once it is under way, it just means we have to be careful not to prejudice the trial or attempt to influence the results. Media bans mean that no information about a case can be broadcast.

Food, Drugs and Medical Advice

The Regulations Respecting Radio Broadcasting prohibit the broadcast of a recommendation for the prevention, treatment or cure of a disease or ailment unless appropriate government bodies have approved the script of the recommendation.


A broadcaster cannot appeal for donations for an organization unless it is:

  • A church or religious body permanently established in the United States and serving the area covered by the station
  • A recognized charitable institution or group
  • A university
  • A musical or artistic organization whose principle aim is not for profit.


Your show may have an underwriter. If you need to credit an underwriter during your show, read the message provided for you. READ IT EXACTLY AS WRITTEN, NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS. Do not ad-lib (before, during or after), embellish, add or subtract from it. Nothing more may be said about that sponsor at any other time for the duration of their sponsorship. Practice reading it before you go on the air. Record the word “Underwriter” and next the name of the Underwriter in the daily station log with the time it was presented: “7/23 Underwriter: Girdwood Clinic.” No one will arbitrarily select underwriters or another entity (even in jest) as their “sponsor of the day.”

Underwriting Legal Guidelines:

We are licensed as a non-commercial, educational broadcaster. We are bound by the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in what we can do and say on the air when someone gives money or other consideration of value to us. We are an IRS 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.

In less than 30 seconds we can say the following:

  • Who you are—your business name mentioned twice.
  • What your product or service is.
  • How to find you—address, telephone, email, etc.
  • A slogan used in your business.

What we can’t say:

  • There can be no pricing information, including such statements as warranties, discounts, “all you can eat,” “free,” “no pass no pay,” etc.
  • No inducements to buy, sell, or lease, as in “a bonus available this week,” “special gift for the first 50 visitors,” “free parking,” etc.

Messages must be non-promotional in nature, cannot identify favorable qualities of the underwriter’s product and cannot have comparative or qualitative language. Statements such as “the oldest,” “the best,” “cleaner than,” “safest,” “speedy,” “reliable,” “for a good time,” etc. cannot be used.

There can be no call to action, that is anything that could induce the listener to take action, therefore the use of the words “call for more information,” hurry on down, be sure to see them, don’t miss it, try our product,” etc. cannot be used.

All verbs must be passive.

We cannot accept any consideration (money) to express the view of any person or any issue of public importance or public interest. Innocuous messages such as “Love the Earth” or “Be Kind to Your Children” would probably be OK, anything more controversial or topical such as legalizing marijuana, ending discrimination, stopping a war, or voting a particular way is not.


You cannot re-broadcast anything on KRUU that you have recorded from another radio station or from films and videos without seeking and gaining the permission of the owner of the copyright. Infringement of copyright carries stiff penalties. Books, articles and other printed materials are usually copyrighted. Written permission must be obtained from the author or publisher to read these on the air. After 50 years, written material comes into the public domain and permission is not needed.

Music copyright is covered by the station’s payment of fees to SOCAN, the Canadian copyright group. Reciprocal agreements exist between SOCAN and other countries and their copyright groups. You do not need to obtain permission to air musical recordings, but you must record the name of the artist and song title on your log sheet.


Regulations Respecting Radio Broadcasting prohibit the broadcast of any person’s comments, live or taped, without that person’s permission. If you are taping an interview be sure to inform the person they are being taped. If you are using an open phone line, be sure the person knows that they are on the air!

When taping an open session (lecture, speech, panel, etc.) BE CERTAIN that everyone present, especially the presenters, know the meeting is being taped for broadcast. It is a good idea to get individuals to sign a waiver allowing the material to be broadcast by the station, held in the archives for future broadcast and possible reproduction.

Open Line Programming

Open line programming means putting listeners on the air via telephone. This format of programming involves listeners in an open forum, allowing for a wide variety of opinion. However, open line programming can also be difficult to control and may put the station at risk.

Since programmers and the station are responsible for everything broadcast over the air, callers to an open line program are no different than in-studio guests with respect to what can and cannot be broadcast. Danger lies in the chance that callers may make remarks that contravene the laws and policies concerning libel and slander, abusive and hateful comments, or obscenity and profanity.

Guidelines for open line programming:

  • Topics should never encourage comments that are prohibited by law, broadcast regulations or station policy.
  • All participants, especially guests, should be familiar with these guidelines.
  • Callers must be screened before being put on the air. This means that the call must be answered off-air and the intent of the caller must be questioned and confirmed as being legitimate with respect to the intent of the program.
  • Programmers should be prepared to take immediate and appropriate action, if callers make prohibited comments, by interrupting the caller or disconnecting the call. These actions could be used in conjunction with a response to the caller’s comments and a statement to all listeners that such comments are prohibited.
  • Unless the program is explicitly directed to a specific group and specific callers are targeted, a variety of perspectives should be allowed on issues of public concern.
  • Be aware that organized groups of callers may try to turn the program into a vehicle for the presentation of one point of view.
  • All participants should be treated fairly and with respect.
  • Programmers should not give advice in areas beyond their expertise.


The Rights of Listeners

It is the right of any member of the listening public to file a complaint against the radio station about what is broadcast and to see that complaint processed in a formal and public manner.

Complaints may be communicated directly to the station or via another body such as the police, the FCC or a representative, such as a lawyer. If it is directed to the station, the complaint may be informal, like feedback or criticism, or formal, demanding further action. If a complaint is directed through a third party, it can generally be assumed to be formal. If a complaint is to be considered formally, it must be accompanied, either at the time of broadcast or during follow-up, by a name and a phone number or address.

If a law has been or is perceived to have been broken, the complainant is in a position to take action through the courts. The complainant would, probably with legal counsel, file a suit against the station or individuals involved if the issue is defamation. In the case of a law respecting obscenity or for example election coverage, the complainant would likely go through the FCC or, though considerably less likely, through the police.

The Responsibilities of Programmers

As a community station we encourage feedback and participation from our listening audience. It is your responsibility as a programmer to acknowledge complaints, to ascertain whether or not they are formal, to provide a reasonable justification for the material that provoked the complaint, and to work toward a resolution of the complaint.

All formal complaints must be forwarded to the Station Manager. If a complaint is dealt with effectively and the listener is satisfied, the issue can be resolved internally and risk for the station is minimized. General considerations:

  • Always be prepared. Never broadcast material that hasn’t been previewed or planned.
  • Give due consideration to material that could be considered objectionable
  • Seek advice from other programmers or the Station Manager regarding provocative material.
  • Be prepared to justify and contextualize anything you say or play.
  • Remember that you and the station are responsible for everything that is broadcast.

Guidelines for dealing with complaints:

  • Be polite. Assure the complainant that their criticism is being taken seriously.
  • Be non-confrontational. Try to diffuse the anger or frustration that motivated the complaint.
  • Avoid engaging in gratuitous debate. Present your reasons for having aired the material in the way that you did simply and clearly.
  • You can apologize for offending the listener without apologizing for what was played.
  • You can acknowledge the complaint on air and present your justification to all your listeners. Explain what the material is about and why you think broadcasting it is important. Do NOT, in any way, take advantage of your position on the air by engaging in a one-sided debate or insulting the complainant or their position.
  • Encourage feedback. Opening the phone lines may provide for input from people who want to express their opinions on the topic. If the material broadcast is controversial, there will likely be a diversity of opinion.
  • If the complainant wants to take further action, document the complaint and complainant. Forward this information to the Station Manager and encourage the complainant to contact the Station Manager directly.
  • If the complainant is abusive or threatening, you are not obliged to continue speaking with him/her. First warn them that you will not continue talking with them if they are abusive. If they continue to be abusive after this warning, you may hang up.

The Responsibilities of Programmers: Contextualization

As the airwaves are public property, due consideration must be paid to how listeners are hearing the material broadcast, in response to how it was intended. The contexts in which a given broadcast is heard may vary greatly. Broadcasters should consider the fact that material being presented could be received by anyone with a radio, thus opening a multitude of possible interpretations and understandings of the material being presented. How and when materials are heard, as well as what they are and why they were broadcast, have an impact on decisions regarding whether the materials are suitable for broadcast on the public airwaves. Hence, context is often the critical factor in determining whether a given broadcast is within the limits of the law and other rules governing radio broadcasting.

The context of radio programming, how materials are presented or contextualized, is the responsibility of the programmer. While the station as a whole is ultimately responsible for everything broadcast, the primary responsibility for the impact of how material is presented lies with the programmer.

Context has been central to the interpretations made and precedents set regarding complaints about controversial programming. Thus far, the onus has been on radio stations to justify what material is played, and when and how it is presented. With respect to controversial programming, the question, “Was the material adequately contextualized?” is frequently asked. Context is the framing of material to ensure that the meaning and intent of the material is established, clear and, hence, not open to misinterpretation, or at least less likely to be misinterpreted.

The following is a list of things to consider when thinking about the context created by a program what context it is heard in.

Time of Day

This bears significant impact on who is listening and what impact broadcasts will have. Some material is considered appropriate for broadcast, but not for children. Examples include the use of profane language, depictions of violence and descriptions or representations of sexuality.

Target Audience

The station is mandated to provide a service for groups and individuals who are under-represented in the mainstream of our society. Conflicts can arise between this mandate and listeners who do not identify as the “target” audience but are tuning in anyway. Programmers targeting their broadcasts to a specific audience should be aware that anyone with a radio is in a position to tune in. Comments or materials presented may be in context, understood and appreciated by members of a target community, but misinterpreted or offensive to listeners who do not identify with that specific culture or group. Programmers are not required to contextualize broadcasting for listeners who may object to the existence of a specific program (for example, a lesbian program) or to the issues and concerns represented in the interest of that group or movement.


One solution for programming controversial material is to use warnings before, during and after the program, to inform listeners of the potentially objectionable nature of the material being presented. Warnings give listeners an opportunity to tune out material they may find offensive. However, warnings may also have the opposite effect, making listeners, including those who will likely object, tune in more closely; and they may degrade material, apologize for it, or add an element of shame.

Thematic Programs

These include a central topic for the program or segment reinforced by elements such as commentary, reportage, music and interviews that help define and explore the theme. Thematic programming can provide adequate context for materials that could be considered objectionable by buffering the material with explanations, other perspectives and background information that highlights the importance of playing the material.

The Role of the FCC

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau is responsible for resolving complaints of non-technical broadcast violations such as complaints alleging broadcast of obscene, profane and/or indecent material, violations of the FCC's rules regarding broadcast of hoaxes, licensee-conducted contests, broadcast of telephone conversation, and public inspection file requirements. Here is the FCC’s process for indecency/obscenity complaints, from the FCC website (

  • “The FCC bases enforcement actions on complaints of indecent, profane or obscene material received from the public… Once the FCC receives a complaint via U.S. mail, e-mail, facsimile, or otherwise, staff logs it into one of several databases managed by the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau and the Enforcement Bureau. These databases enable the staff to track and share complaints among those who will subsequently review them.
  • “FCC staff reviews each complaint to determine whether it alleges information sufficient to suggest that a violation of the obscenity, profanity or indecency prohibition has occurred. If it appears that a violation may have occurred, the staff will commence an investigation, which may include sending a Letter Of Inquiry (“LOI”) to the broadcast station. Depending on the case, an LOI may ask the station to confirm or deny the allegations in the complaint and provide copies of any tapes or transcripts of the program at issue.
  • “If the description of the material contained in the complaint is not sufficient to determine whether a violation of the statute or FCC rules regarding indecent, obscene, and profane material may have occurred, FCC staff will send the complainant a dismissal letter explaining the deficiencies in the complaint and how to have it reinstated. In such a case, the complainant has the option of re-filing the complaint with additional information, filing a petition for reconsideration, or filing an application for review (appeal) to the full Commission.
  • “If the facts and information contained in a complaint suggest that a violation of the statute or FCC rules regarding indecency, obscenity, and profane material did not occur, FCC staff will send the complainant a letter denying the complaint, or the FCC may deny the complaint by public order. In either situation, the complainant has the option of filing a petition for reconsideration or, if the decision is a staff action, an application for review (appeal) to the full Commission.
  • “If the complaint is dismissed or denied by letter, FCC staff also includes a copy of the Indecency Fact Sheet, which reviews the FCC's authority over indecent, profane, or obscene material….

“If the FCC determines that the complained-of material was indecent, profane, and/or obscene, it may issue a Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”), which is a preliminary finding that the law or the Commission's rules have been violated. Subsequently, this preliminary finding may be confirmed, reduced, or rescinded when the FCC issues a Forfeiture Order.”

The Role of the Station

In most cases, it is in the interest of the station to keep complaints out of the domain of the courts and the CRTC. While some issues may be worth taking a stand on, arguing complaints may be time-consuming and expensive, draining the station of financial resources and or resulting in the suspension of our broadcast license.

Complaints about Co-op Radio’s on-air broadcasts should be directed to the Station Manager. Complaints can be made by handwritten or typed note, through email, in person or by phone. The Program Coordinator shall acknowledge receipt of all complaints and may decide to take complaints first to the programmers concerned or directly to the Programming Committee. In either case, both the programmers involved and the Committee shall be informed of all complaints regarding programming at the station. The Station Manager will ensure that a Board rep on the Committee receives a copy of all complaints.

If a complaint is taken directly to the programmers concerned, the programmers and the Program Coordinator in consultation can decide to:

  • Dismiss the complaint on the grounds that it is frivolous or that to air it would violate programming policy.
  • Resolve the complaint off-air by approaching the complainant directly.
  • Draft a letter of response to the complaint and submit it to the Programming Committee
  • Read the letter of complaint or excerpts from it on-air, or broadcast a panel or forum that includes the complainant or another person who holds the same or similar views on the issue at stake in the complaint.

When a complaint is taken to the Programming Committee, the Committee shall review the complaint and, where possible, listen to the segment or program at issue in the complaint. If the Committee decides that further action is warranted, this procedure will be followed:

  • Programmers involved with the show named in the complaint are informed that a complaint has been received and are asked to submit a letter of response or attend the next Programming Committee meeting if they wish.
  • The Committee will draft a proposal for resolution of the complaint.
  • The Committee will arrange to monitor the program until the next meeting.
  • The Committee will inform complainants of the steps taken.
  • The Programming Committee will review the complaint and decide whether the problem has been resolved or dealt with adequately.
  • Committee members who monitored the program will give a brief report back
  • Programmers will have the opportunity to share their side of the story, through the presentation of a letter of response * Programmers and other guests shall be asked to leave the meeting while the Committee deliberates in camera over whether further action is necessary.

If the Committee decides that further action is warranted, it will draft a letter to the programmers involved, stating the nature of the problem, the programming policy or objective that has been contravened and a proposal for resolution of the complaint. This letter shall also inform the programmers that they are on probation for one month starting immediately and that their program will be suspended or cancelled at the end of this probationary period if the problem continues. The programmers will be invited to submit a letter of response or to attend the next Programming Committee meeting if they wish. This letter shall be delivered to the programmers at least one week before the next Programming Committee meeting and a copy will be kept in the program’s file at the station. The Committee will arrange to monitor the program for another month.

  • The Programming Committee will review the complaint and decide whether the problem has been resolved or dealt with adequately.
  • Committee members who monitored the program will give a brief report
  • Programmers will have the opportunity to share their side of the story, but will be asked to leave the meeting while the Committee deliberates over whether further action is necessary.

If the Committee is still not satisfied with the way the problem has been addressed, probation may be extended and suspension or cancellation procedures may be initiated. Programmers will be informed that they have the right to appeal this decision to the Board and the Programming Committee’s decision will included in the Programming Committee’s report to the Board.


Haven’t you always wanted to know how the WSCA signal gets from the studio out to our eager listeners? The following will help you to understand a little about that process.

FM Radio – What are radio waves anyway?

A radio wave is an electromagnetic wave propagated by an antenna. Radio waves have different frequencies, and by tuning a radio receiver to a specific frequency you can pick up a specific signal. Audio signals usually occur with in a range of relatively low frequencies (from about 20 Hz to 20 kHz). In order for an audio signal to be transmitted as a radio signal it must first be transferred to a higher frequency. This transfer is called modulation.

US radio signals use two methods of modulation: Amplitude Modulation (AM) and Frequency Modulation (FM). KRUU is an FM station. Using FM, the low frequency audio signal is combined with a higher frequency signal called a “carrier.” The signal of the carrier is the number you turn to on the dial. In other words, the carrier for KRUU is 100.1 Mhz. At the higher frequency, the audio is then able to be broadcast.

The KRUU Signal Chain – Where does it go and how does it get there?

The signal chain is the path that our audio travels from the CD players, microphones, etc. (also known as source devices) located in our studio to the broadcast antenna located at the KRUU building.


The sources in the studio are the devices that produce audio – either from prerecorded material or microphones.


The sources are connected to the mixer in order to combine them. This is easier than having a switch to select between them (as you would on a home stereo), and lets us talk over music, fade between songs, etc.

Studio Head End Rack

The equipment shown in the rack on the signal chain diagram is not accessible to the DJs. This equipment is used to condition the signal for transmission over dedicated telephone cables to the Music Hall.


The transmitter converts the low level audio signal that originates at the studio to a high power radio signal. This includes modulation (discussed below) and amplification. The output of the transmitter is applied to the broadcast antenna.

Signal Chain Interruptions

If this signal chain is broken at any point, the audio originating at the studio won’t reach the antenna and thus won’t be broadcast. Fortunately, all of the devices in the signal chain requiring electrical power are supported by uninterruptible power supplies that will continue to provide power to the equipment during short power outages. So, even if the lights go off, we can still broadcast for a period of time.

However, if you become aware that no signal is being broadcast, notify the Station Manager immediately. The phone number for the Station Manager is on a contact list posted above the studio mixing board.


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“This is a test of the Emergency Alert System—this is only a test…”

If you have heard or seen these words on a radio of television station then you’re acquainted with the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

In 1951, President Harry Truman established CONELRAD (Control of Electromagnetic Radiation) as the first national alerting system. CONELRAD later became the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) which was intended to provide the President with a means to address the American people in the event of a national emergency. Through the EBS the President had access to thousands of broadcast stations to send an emergency message to the public.

In 1994, to overcome some of the limitations of the EBS system, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) replaced the EBS with the EAS. The FCC designed the EAS in cooperation with the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and each agency plays a role. The FCC has oversight regarding the technical and operational requirements of the EAS and ensures that state and local EAS plans conform to the FCC’s rules and regulations. The NWS provides emergency weather information to alert the public about dangerous conditions. FEMA provides direction for state and local emergency planning officials to plan and implement their roles in the EAS.

Some changes from the EBS include:

The EAS allows broadcast stations, cable systems, participating satellite companies, and other services to send and receive emergency information automatically, even if these facilities are unattended. The EAS is designed so that if one link in the dissemination of alert information is broken, the entire system does not fail. The EAS also automatically converts to any language used by the broadcast station or cable system.

As with the EBS, the EAS provides the President and federal authorities with a network of broadcast stations, cable and satellite TV providers capable of quickly distributing emergency information to the general public. Because the EAS system shares digital bandwidth with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Radio (NWR) this allows NWR signals to be decoded by the EAS equipment at radio and television stations. This enables the system to be used by state and local officials to issue weather‐related emergency information targeted to a specific area.

In 1997, EAS replaced the weekly (on-air) “only a test” broadcast notifications used by the EBS with less obtrusive weekly internal tests and monthly on-air tests. All AM, FM, and TV broadcast stations, as well as cable systems, with 10,000 or more subscribers, use these procedures.

EAS Tests and Activations

Located in the studio head-end rack at the last stop on the station signal chain is an EAS receiver. This receiver automatically monitors incoming communications from the EAS. Located in the on-air studio is the EAS studio handbook; please always make sure it ends up in the studio when you are finished reading it.

In case of monthly tests, the EAS receiver automatically mutes our programming and broadcasts the test announcement over our FM frequency. If the timing of the monthly test corresponds coincides with your show and you are monitoring the on‐air broadcast you may will hear the test. If you are monitoring the output of the studio board, however, you will be unaware that your program was briefly interrupted. The schedule of these tests is kept in a log next the EAS receiver where the time and date of these tests are recorded in by a member of the engineering department once they have been received.

EAS activations are either national or state/local. All tests and activations are preceded two tones issued by the EAS receiver. In the rare case of a national activation our station’s broadcast will be interrupted by the following message:

“This is an Emergency Action Notification requested by the White House. All broadcast stations will follow activation procedures in the EAS Operating Handbook for a national level emergency. The President of the Unites States or his or her representative will shortly deliver a message over the Emergency Alert System.”

State and local activations are more common. Page 19 of the EAS handbook details the type of events which may cause a state or local activation of the EAS – most often they are issued by the NWS in case of threatening or extreme weather. When these activations are received a bell like tone sounds repeatedly at the EAS receiver and a message is sent to the printer located adjacent to the receiver. These messages are stored in the print spooler; a blinking light will appear at the print button, when there are messages ready to print. You do not need to do this!

The messages are shorthand, coded and somewhat hard to decipher. Our participation in these alerts is optional! Our broadcast area is covered by several larger, more powerful stations that are responsible for broadcasting these alerts. However, if the alert is weather related, you will find the same information on the National Weather service website which is the homepage on the in studio computer. Feel free to pass on this valuable weather information to our listeners as a public service, especially if the notification is specific to Fairfield and the immediately surrounding communities.


Although an announcer should be more concerned with overall presentation than the voice itself, the voice is, of course, vitally important on radio. Since it is the only dimension a listener has, it must be effective. The voice can be used to capture and keep listeners interest in your program.

A full, strong voice is supported by the whole person. This means that your emotional state, physical state and entire attitude are reflected in your voice. On the radio, there may be times when you will have to project a more cheerful image than you actually feel. This is when the voice becomes all-important. When you are dealing with radio, voice is not just one part of the performance: it is the entire performance!

Following are some of the factors that affect the voice and suggestions on making the most effective use of each factor.


Your voice is affected by the nature of your thoughts and feelings. Fear, anxiety and depression all find their way into your voice at times. Thus, the voice is the channel through which the nature of character, attitude, and emotions of the announcer are communicated.


Breath is the control for your voice and speech. Controlled yet relaxed breathing while you are on the air results in clarity and the ability to produce sensitive variations in the volume and tone of your voice. There can be no effective speech performance without this breath control. While you are on the air, your mouth is relatively close to the microphone, where every sound from your mouth is picked up and projected to your listeners. Good posture will help facilitate quieter breathing. Also, during a pause of any sort, avoid breathing in to the microphone. And never rush onto the air having run or otherwise exerted yourself. There are a few things more difficult to listen to than a breathless announcer.


When you speak normally to a friend, your mouth undergoes a vast number of minute muscular movements. When you are on the air these movements must be somewhat calculated; yet you cannot have tension in either your throat or your mouth. You must learn to relax your throat. Let your tongue and lips form your words and allow your vocal cords to “release” the flow of sound in a relaxed manner. Huskiness, hoarseness, “breathiness” and raspiness all result from poor breath control and/or a squeezed throat. A helpful hint for relaxing the mouth/tongue before going on the air: place a pencil/pen horizontally between your teeth, pressing down with your tongue. Practice reading your lines and remember to remove the pencil/pen before going on the air!


This is the voice quality in timbre. An open, relaxed throat will emphasize richer and fuller overtones. A tensely squeezed throat will produce uncontrollably harsh overtones. Resonance is best when nasality is kept to a minimum and the throat is relaxed.


There is no question that on radio there must be more than the usual amount of expression in most voices. The announcer must be adept at varying voice tones and volume in a comprehensive and appealing manner. Voice should reflect the mood and excitement of the announcements. Regardless of the situation or copy you must let the listener know that you believe in what you are doing. All meanings must be clear. All subtle changes in mood must come through the announcer’s expression and choice of words. Monotony has no place on radio.


This is how the voice is used to indicate a type of statement. A question will need a rise in pitch at the end. A casual statement will need a different pitch. An exclamatory statement may need a harsh pitch. It is through the use of pitch that the announcer communicates authority and believability to listeners.


Changes in the rate of speech and the use of pauses while speaking are essential parts of the voice. When the rate becomes constant, you have monotony. Generally, importance of topic is reflected in the speech rate. Important aspects will often be spoken more slowly than less important ones. The pause is an oral punctuation mark. With it, ideas are separated. Rate, including pauses, must be varied and very well controlled.


This is your choice of words. Avoid repetition. Enhance your vocabulary so that your topics have more meaning and listener appeal. A misused word almost always sounds pathetic.


There can be no authoritative announcing without useful and accurate pronunciation.

All these factors can be mastered and become second nature to the seasoned radio announcer. Once they are part of your normal speech routines, you can begin concentrating on polishing your voice and other aspects of your presentation. The best way to progress is to listen to yourself. Record your programs and listen back to them to help improve the quality of your voice.


Interviews are an important part of Co-op Radio’s programming. It is important that Co-op programmers strive to bring new voices and new ideas to the airwaves. The following are guidelines to consider in preparing an interview.

Choose a focus.

A focus is different from a “topic.” For example, you may want to organize a program on the “topic” of drug addiction in Vancouver. The “focus” of an interview could be the impact of a safe injection site on street-level drug use in the Downtown East Side. Choose the focus of your interview and keep that in mind when choosing guests and preparing questions.

Find the right guest.

The “right” guest is one who can speak directly to your focus from his or her own lived experience.

Refine the focus.

Don’t over-prep before you contact your guest. Be flexible about your precise focus (e.g. the focus of an interview with a homeless drug-user may be different from that of an interview with a medical service provider, which may be different from one with a sociologist). Don’t be afraid to change the focus if you found an interesting and enthusiastic guest who does not quite “fit” your original idea.

Pre-interview your guest.

Let your guest know what the focus of the interview will be. This will help your guest to organize their thoughts and put him/her at ease. Don’t call it a “pre-interview;” it’s just a chat to see what you’ll talk about during the interview. During this chat, feel free to go beyond your focus to ask anything and everything related to the topic at hand. Take notes! Be sure your guest knows your contact information in case of emergency, the exact date and time of the interview, and whether the interview will be live or pre-recorded.

Double-check the details.

Be sure to have the correct spelling and pronunciation of your guest’s name, how he/she wants to be introduced, the name of the organization your guest is affiliated with and its contact information.

Research your topic.

Don’t expect your guest to provide all the information for you. Being a good interviewer means having a grasp of pertinent facts and contexts before asking questions. The interview is meant to inform and educate listeners, not you.

Prepare your questions.

Choose your first question carefully. Listeners will lose their concentration quickly, so you have to grab their attention and keep it! Create a logical flow through your sequence of questions. Avoid jumping from one subject to the next; instead plan on ways that your questions may evoke answers that will lead to your next question.

Draft an introduction.

KISS - Keep It Short and Simple! Introduce your guest in the manner that he/she would like to be addressed, and leave the details for the guest to address during the interview. Give your listeners space to make up their own minds about the issue at hand.

Get comfortable.

Prepare a comfortable physical environment for you and your guest to talk during the interview.

Listen, don’t talk.

Don’t interrupt your guest!

Think ahead.

Always have your next question in mind while your guest is speaking.

Thank your guest at the end of every interview!

Listen back.

Whether your interview was pre-recorded or live, be sure to listen back to it later. Take notes and think about what you would do differently in the future.


“Pitching” means making a “pitch:” an appeal for members to join and support the station! Pitching is the way we raise funds on the air during our Spring and Fall Member Drives. You must pitch for at least 10 minutes of every hour during Member Drive programs.

13 Lucky Tips for Successful Pitching

  1. Brainstorm your “whys.” Imagine you are listening to your own Member Drive show. What would you need to hear about the station to pay for a membership?
  2. Make a list of your “whys” and bring it to your Member Drive show, to help remind yourself on the air. Avoid detailed scripts! Try to keep things fresh and natural.
  3. Practice with a partner before the Drive. Ask a partner for feedback on your “whys,” “asks” and tone of voice. Ask your pitching partner to help you out live on the air!
  4. Say it from the heart. Listeners can sense when you are trying to sell them something. It’s important that you care about what you are saying and sincerely believe that people will benefit from supporting the station.
  5. Stay positive. Listeners will feel your enthusiasm and want to join in the fun!
  6. Make it interesting. Vary the length and the timing of your pitches. Vary the “whys” so that you are not saying the same thing over and over! Use a variety of voices, music and sounds in and around your pitching to attract listeners’ attention.
  7. Tell a story. Share personal anecdotes about your positive or light-hearted experiences with the station. Explain why you joined Co-op Radio! Mention interviews or performers from specific communities that you’ve recently had contact with.
  8. Talk as if you’re speaking to a single listener. Little words like “you” make listeners feel like you’re paying attention to them. “Hi, there, friend! We need your call now!”
  9. Set goals and challenges. Set a realistic but ambitious goal for pledges that you want to get on each of your Member Drive programs. Share your show’s goal with listeners at the beginning of the program and challenge them to meet it.
  10. Include practical information about membership levels and giveaways. Tell your listeners about the membership categories and their prices.
  11. Tell listeners to call in and give out the phone number. People like to be asked, and they can’t call if they don’t know the number! Read it out slowly, clearly and often!
  12. Pitch often! Most listeners need to hear 6 or more pitches before they will call in.
  13. Thank your callers! Thank callers by name (if they agree to this) and announce the gift incentives that they will be receiving for their pledge.

7 Unlucky Don’ts

  1. DON’T say that the phones are quiet. Instead, try something like, “There is still a line open and volunteers are standing by to talk with you.”
  2. DON’T use the word “pitch” on the air. Listeners don’t need to know the jargon behind your appeal for support. It may make them feel that you are being insincere.
  3. DON’T read out the dollar amount of members’ pledges on the air. This is personal information that the members may not want all our listeners to know!
  4. DON’T threaten or make demands on listeners. They will be much less likely to respond to angry or bossy statements than to gentle, sincere persuasion.
  5. DON’T complain about the station. This is not a time to discuss your beefs with our equipment, programming, or policies.
  6. DON’T forget the facts about membership levels, station contact information, and your fabulous giveaways!
  7. DON’T forget the phone number!