This week the FCC unanimously approved an order finalizing an NRB-inspired idea to aid charitable activity. While noncommercial (NCE) broadcast stations have been prohibited from on-air fundraising for other nonprofit organizations unless they are provided a waiver by the commission, they will now have the option of using up to one percent of their annual on-air time to fundraise for charitable causes.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai highlighted the selfless work of many charities that “feed the hungry, house the homeless, provide relief when disaster strikes, and serve communities in many other ways, large and small.” He affirmed, “Minimally relaxing our longstanding third-party fundraising restrictions will benefit the public interest by making it easier for noncommercial stations to partner with disaster relief groups, charities, and other non-profits to raise funds for worthy causes.”
While Commissioner Mignon Clyburn expressed caution that the nature of noncommercial broadcasting not be undermined and Commissioner Michael O’Rielly warned that stations must not abuse the system for their own gain in the name of "conducting the Lord's work," they both recognized the great value of NCE stations in aiding charitable causes – leading to a unanimous vote.
Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, NRB President & CEO, attended the FCC Open Meeting and, after the vote, said, “This sensible policy will permit our members to better educate their listeners and viewers about critical needs in their communities – something that is clearly in the public interest.” He added, “Ajit Pai, in particular, deserves praise for acting on this matter early in his tenure as FCC Chairman. NRB has long advocated this nonpartisan, commonsense regulatory reform.”
Pai specifically thanked NRB from the dais during the Open Meeting, appreciating the association’s role in spurring this proceeding.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: April 21, 2017