Educational Radio Might Raise Charity Funds

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Noncommercial educational broadcast stations would be allowed to conduct on-air fundraising for third-parties without a waiver, under new rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission.
     The rules would allow stations to spend up to one percent, or 88 hours per year of their broadcast time conducting program interrupting fundraising for charities or other non-profits.
     In the past, the FCC has granted waivers to its long standing prohibition on third-party fundraising in support of relief efforts for Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti and, most recently, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
     The FCC has not determined exactly how it would allow noncommercial educational stations to conduct the fund-raising and which stations should be allowed to do so.
     A report from the FCC’s staff said that some stations supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting did not want the ability to conduct third-party fundraising because it would put them in the awkward position of choosing which causes to support and which to reject.
     The FCC is asking for public input on a broad range of questions including if it should adopt an opt-in process so that stations have to affirmatively register with the FCC to conduct such fund raising. Public comments are due by August 21.
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