Public Comments Requested By The FCC: FCC Proposes Rules to Allow Fundraising for Others on Public TV

Public Comments Requested By The FCC: FCC Proposes Rules to Allow Fundraising for Others on Public TV

by Jerry Glover
May 1, 2012

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has asked for comments from the public in connection with a proposed rule that would allow public broadcasters to devote some air time to help raise money for other not-for-profit corporations. The FCC proposes to allow those public stations to devote a maximum of one percent (about 88 hours) of their yearly airtime to those fundraising activities (in addition, of course, to those stations’ frequent “pledge” drives for their own benefit). The rule would not require stations to devote airtime to third-party not-for-profits; giving up airtime would be discretionary with each station.

Today, public stations must seek permission from the FCC to devote any airtime to raise funds for third party not-for-profits. The FCC has often granted such permission but only when a national or international emergency as occurred. Examples of these emergency fundraisers include Hurricane Katrina, 9/11 and the 2011 Japanese tsunami. The proposed rule eliminates the need to seek FCC permission.

The FCC is asking for public comment on the following questions:

(1) Whether public stations should be allowed to devote some air time to fundraising for third party not-for-profits or should the current ban against such activities be retained?

(2) If these fundraising activities are permitted, are there any limitations that should be placed on public stations in connection with the type of not-for-profit companies that should be allowed to benefit from fundraising activities?

(3) Whether public station fundraising activities for not-for-profits should be limited to one percent of the station’s annual airtime/

 (4) Whether there should be a limit on how long any individual fundraising activity can take place?

(5) Whether stations should be required to submit fundraising reports to the FCC on an annual basis and, if so, what information should be included in those reports?

(6) Should public stations be required to certify in their station license renewal applications that they have complied with any fundraising limits?

Deadline for receipt of comments will be noted in the Federal Register when this request for comment is officially published.

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