The FCC normally prohibits noncommercial stations from doing on-air fundraising for entities other than the station itself. However, in light of the earthquake and resulting tsunami disasters in Japan, the agency has relaxed its rules to allow noncom radio or television stations to seek a waiver of the rules for Japanese disaster relief efforts.
The commission previously granted waivers following disasters like Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, the January 2005 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the January 2010 Haiti earthquake. These waivers have been issued for a specific fundraising program or programs, or for sustained station appeals for periods that generally do not exceed several days.
For noncoms seeking waiver so they may fundraise for Japanese relief efforts, the stations may file an informal request for a waiver. Television licensees should e-mail Barbara Kreisman, and radio station licensees should e-mail either Michael Wagner or Peter Doyle.
The request should describe the nature of the fundraiser, including how long it’s expected to last, what organizations the proceeds would go to and whether the funding effort is part of the station’s regular fund drive.