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FCC announces waivers for tornado relief fundraising on non-comm stations

FCC LogoTuesday the FCC announced procedures for obtaining waivers to permit non-commercial stations to raise money on-air for Moore, Oklahoma tornado relief efforts. Although the Commission has yet to approve rules for non-commercial stations to do on-air fundraising for third-parties, the agency has granted waivers in response to significant natural disasters. Without a waiver it is against FCC rules for non-commercial stations to use airtime to fundraise for any organization except the licensee.

The Commission has already received and granted one waiver for tornado relief. Waivers may be granted for specific fundraising programs, or for “limited station appeals which generally do not exceed several days.”

Last year the FCC proposed letting non-comms dedicate up to 88 hours a year without having to request a waiver. In comments submitted to this proceeding organizations like National Public Radio and the University Station Alliance urged the Commission not to lift the ban, arguing that it might jeopardize listener relationships or cause stations to be deluged with airtime requests from charities. Religious broadcasters, on the other hand, were more supportive of the idea.

Radio stations that want to request a waiver should email Peter Doyle
( and Michael Wagner ( and provide the details of the fundraising activity, including:

a. the nature of the fundraising effort;

b. the proposed duration of the fundraising effort;

c. the organization(s) to which funds will be donated; and

d. whether the fundraiser will be part of the licensee’s regularly scheduled
pledge drive or fundraising effort.


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