Frequently Asked Questions


NCSA -Public Education Program

What is NCSA – PEP?

The Non-Commercial Sustaining Announcement (NCSA) Public Education Program (PEP) is intended to help government agencies and nonprofit organizations deliver their important public interest messages effectively and affordably.

Who uses the PEP program?

The PA Army National Guard uses NCSA-PEP for recruitment and retention purposes, and various Commonwealth Agencies use PEPs to promote transportation and highway safety issues/initiatives, health and human services, emergency awareness and preparedness, economic development, tourism, consumer protection, education and more.


How does the PEP program work?

Radio and television stations donate airtime to the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters (PAB).  In exchange for funding, the association makes the airtime available to nonprofits and government agencies which don’t have a history of buying broadcast advertising time. For every $1 of investment from your organization, the association projects $4 of airtime value. In many cases, the return on investment is a 5:1 or 6:1 airtime-to-investment value ratio. This multiplier effect allows access to the market at the lowest possible cost.


How is it different from a PSA?

A public service announcement (PSA) is aired by a station without a monetary commitment, and is therefore aired by the station at its own discretion. PSAs are an effective and useful campaign approach for organizations who do not have access to funding and who rely solely on a station’s commitment to community service. PSAs do not hold airtime guarantees.


How much does it cost to air a PEP campaign?

Cost is determined on a case-by-case basis based on two factors: campaign duration and whether the program will use radio, television, or a combination of both. PEP campaigns are often paid through grants, particularly those requiring matching funds – as the program and its returns qualify as such.

What is the “ideal” PEP message?

The ideal message is one of importance to a vast majority of people within the state. Those who find PEP campaigns to be most successful are those who have a cause or message that is important to the state as a whole. It is also important that spots not be considered “issue advertising.” The program is intended for public education and awareness across the Commonwealth.


Where and when will PEP spots be aired?

Virtually all commercial radio and TV members of the PAB air NCSA-PEP spots. Specific stations and times cannot be guaranteed, since stations participate voluntarily. However, the PAB works diligently with its membership to ensure effective coverage. PEP spots are placed on a Monday-Sunday, 6 a.m. to 12 midnight rotation.

Why do stations participate?

NCSA-PEP campaign funding enables the PAB to provide services that strengthen the broadcast industry and help stations operate in the public interest. NCSA-PEP revenue helps the PAB to subsidize professional education, FCC required tower inspections, legal assistance, and regulatory compliance programs as well as other member benefits that many stations could otherwise not afford.


What kind of confirmation is received?

The PAB provides PEP sponsors with a summary report of spots aired and a daypart breakout chart of campaign performance – including the time and daypart in which the spots aired, as well as the value that sponsors have received, based on Nielsen Sigma monitoring, member station affidavits, and electronic invoices.


Does the PAB provide resources to create and distribute the spot(s)?

Yes. The PAB can assist with copywriting and production, often at low or no cost. The PAB also distributes all PEP spots, collects station affidavits, and provides a full report at the end of the campaign.

What about digital & social?

Broadcast and digital media go hand-in-hand, complimenting each other to a higher degree when used together than when used as a stand alone. PAB is happy to consult and assist with placement of digital and social campaigns alongside an NCSA-PEP campaign as a value-added service.

How do you find out more?

Contact Carter Wyckoff, Vice President, Sales, at the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters, via email at cwyckoff@pab.org, or call 717-482-4820.


NCSA Informational 1 Sheet
More Information about NCSA
Public Education Program
Station Reporting
Electronic Invoicing (EDI)