Haiti Fundraising Streamlined by FCC

WASHINGTON: The FCC has modified its on-air fundraising rules so noncommercial broadcasters can bring in aide for Haiti. The commission is granting fundraising waivers for appeals related to relief efforts for Haiti. Licensees that want to solicit donations for the earthquake-devastated island nation can file an informal request for a Sec. 73,503(d) or 73.621(e) waiver.

Electronics requests can be emailed to Barbara Kreisman and Clay Pendarvis, if the request involves a television station, or to Peter Doyle and Michael Wagner, if the request involves a radio station.

The request should provide basic details of the fundraising activity:
a. the nature of the fundraising effort;
b. the proposed duration of the fundraising effort;
c. the organization(s) to which funds will be donated; and
d. whether the fundraiser will be part of the licensee’s regularly scheduled pledge drive or fundraising effort.

Noncommercial educational stations typically are prohibited from doing on-air fundraising for outside entities. Waivers have been granted in the past for fundraising efforts related to Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, and the January 2005 tsunami in Southeast Asia. These waivers have been issued for a specific fundraising program or programs, or for sustained station appeals for periods which generally do not exceed several days.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski issued the following statement regarding the destruction in Haiti:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti during this terrible tragedy. A number of noncommercial broadcasters have asked for permission to raise funds for relief efforts, which we are happy to give. The Media Bureau has posted procedures for any noncommercial TV or radio station to obtain expedited approval for such fundraising. These temporary waivers will help tap the American spirit of generosity in this time of great need to aid Haitian relief efforts.”

(Image of U.K. Fire Service Search and Rescue team at the Santo Domingo Airport in the Dominican Republic, on the way to Haiti, from the U.K. Department for International Development.)