FCC provides procedures for waiver requests by noncommercial broadcasters
As the horrific stories and images reach the mainland from earthquake-devastated Haiti, broadcast stations may want to undertake fund-raising efforts to support relief efforts. The FCC clearly does not want to do anything to discourage such laudable humanitarian impulses. However, rules are rules – and the Commission’s rules (Sections 73.503(d) for radio and 73.621(e) for TV) generally prohibit noncommercial educational (NCE) broadcasters from engaging in on-air fund-raising activities on behalf of anybody but the station itself.
Not to worry. The Commission has historically waived that prohibition following “disasters of particular uniqueness or magnitude” – things like Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, the January, 2005 Southeast Asia tsunami and, of course, the September 11, 2001 attacks. And just to be sure that we all know that the FCC views the Haiti earthquake to be in the same league, the Commission has issued a public notice laying out the procedures by which NCE licensees may request waivers so that they can engage in fund-raising for relief efforts.
Stations seeking such waivers should prepare an informal request providing the following basic details of their fund-raising activity:
- the nature of the fund-raising activity;
- the proposed duration of the activity;
- the organization(s) to which fund will be donated; and
- whether the fund-raising activity will be part of the station’s regularly-scheduled pledge drive or fund-raising efforts
The informal request should then be emailed to the FCC. NCE television licensees should address their requests to Barbara Kreisman (email@example.com) and Clay Pendarvis (firstname.lastname@example.org). NCE radio licensees should address their requests to Peter Doyle (email@example.com) and Michael Wagner (firstname.lastname@example.org).