FCC Seeks to Facilitate Superstorm Aid

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastating blow to many on the East Coast, particularly in New Jersey and New York, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a call to facilitate relief. The FCC Media Bureau released a statement Tuesday informing noncommercial educational (NCE) stations that it is prepared to help them raise money for charities aiding storm victims by temporarily waiving rules prohibiting such third-party fundraising.

Presently, NCE stations are prohibited from fundraising for other non-profit groups unless they are provided a waiver by the FCC. Waivers are rarely granted except in dire emergencies involving massive natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and now Hurricane Sandy.

Notably, earlier this year, the FCC formally began considering a proposal that NCE broadcast stations be allowed to use up to one percent of their air-time to fundraise for the benefit of third-party non-profit organizations. Through public and private conversations at the FCC, NRB has long advocated for this regulatory change and continues to press for its adoption.

In the immediate term, the FCC has already granted two NCE waivers for Hurricane Sandy relief.  In its statement, it provides procedures for expedited waiver consideration for other interested NCE stations.

  • Find this FCC Hurricane Sandy relief release here.
  • Find NRB’s comments filed with the FCC to enhance NCE charitable assistance.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations

Published: November 9, 2012