NPR’s Car Talk and PBS’s Masterpiece Theater could soon become big fundraising boosters for the nation’s charities.
The Federal Communications Commission is inviting comments on a proposal to allow public radio and television stations to raise money for any nonprofit. Now stations are solely allowed to raise money for their own programs and operations, in part because regulators wanted to ensure broadcasters put all their energy into educational programs.
Stations have been allowed to raise money for big catastrophes, for example after Hurricane Katrina. But they had to go through a special process of getting a waiver from the federal communications agency.
Under the FCC plan, public radio and television stations could spend up to 1 percent of their annual broadcast time—about 88 hours per year—doing on-air fundraising appeals for any charity they want to help.
The FCC is now seeking comments on several issues. Among them, the commission wonders if it should:
* Place limits on the kinds of causes that could get airtime.
* Require stations to submit annual reports to the FCC on their fundraising activities to benefit other organizations.
* Ask stations to prove they have not exceeded the 88 hours of fundraising.
FCC officials said that their request for comments will soon appear in the Federal Register. After that, comments will be accepted for 30 days, and another 30 days will be allotted for replies to the initial round of comments.
Do you think changing the rules is a good idea? Might your cause benefit? Let us know in the comments section below.
Send an email to Holly Hall.