FCC Expected to Approve Noncom Fundraising Item

The Federal Communications Commission has removed a noncom fundraising item from its April 27 public meeting agenda, which more than likely means it will be voted and approved before the meeting.

The item proposes allowing noncommercial broadcast stations to do on-air fundraising for third-party nonprofits, but with the limitation that they can only use 1% of their annual airtime for such activities.

That was one of the recommendations in the FCC's future of media report as a way for noncoms to help nonprofits.

They can already interrupt programming to raise money for themselves, but not for others, though there have been exceptions.

The FCC has previously waived its rules prohibiting on-air fundraising for outside groups only in the cases of disasters of "particular uniqueness or magnitude," including for relief for the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and more recently the earthquake/tsunami in Japan.

The National Religious Broadcasters have also sought more latitude in on-air fundraising for other nonprofits.

Still on the agenda for Friday are votes on TV station channel-sharing after incentive auctions and posting TV station public files, including political files, online.

The FCC has moved up the start date of the meeting from 10:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.