Noncommercial Stations Can Engage in Hurricane Relief Fundraising

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved allowing noncommercial educational (NCE) stations to engage in on-air fundraising activities to support relief efforts related to Hurricane Sandy.
            The FCC generally prohibits NCE stations from engaging in on-air fundraising activities on behalf of any entity other than the station itself, but it has granted rule waivers for such fundraising appeals to support relief efforts following disasters such as Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the January 2005 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the January 2010 Haiti earthquake.
            Those waivers were issued for a specific fundraising program or programs, or for sustained station appeals for periods that generally do not exceed several days, the FCC says.
            In regards to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, the FCC has already received and granted two waivers, and wishes to provide information to other NCE stations seeking to expedite the commission's review of similar requests, the agency says.
            Licensees seeking to solicit contributions from viewers or listeners for relief efforts in light of the recent storm may file an informal request for a waiver of the rules governing NCE fundraising. If the request involves a television station, the licensee may submit an e-mail request to Barbara Kreisman (barbara.kreisman@fcc.gov), if the request involves a radio station, the e-mail should be sent to Peter Doyle (peter.doyle@fcc.gov) and Michael Wagner (michael.wagner@fcc.gov), the FCC says.
            In addition, the request should provide basic details of the fundraising activity. Those details include:
  • The nature of the fundraising effort
  • The proposed duration of the fundraising effort
  • The organization(s) to which funds will be donated
  • Whether the fundraiser will be part of the licensee’s regularly scheduled pledge drive or fundraising effort

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