As Haiti reels in the aftermath of the earthquake, radio mobilizes across the U.S. to help out. With Port-Au-Prince in ruins, stations across the U.S. are marshaling their resources to help provide aid. It’s disturbingly familiar to me; all the footage and audio remind me of what we went through in New Orleans five years ago. Of course, this disaster made our levee failure look like a walk in the park.
RadioInk has a great roundup of the efforts made by radio stations around the U.S., such as Emmis-owned Urban AC WRKS (98.7 Kiss FM, NY) where they’ve put a call for donations to Yele (the aid organization founded by Haitian musician Wyclef Jean) plastered across the top of their website’s front page. They go on to detail many more efforts our industry is putting forth across the nation. Go take a look, and please give if you can.
Next, an important note for Non-Commercial Educational (NCE) radio stations: the FCC has granted a waiver so that you can raise money for Haitian relief. (Normally college, community, or public radio stations can only raise money for their own operating expenses.) Here are the instructions on how to use it:
Please see the below released by the Media Bureau 1-13-10.
PROCEDURES FOR OBTAINING COMMISSION APPROVAL FOR NCE
STATION FUNDRAISING EFFORTS TO AID HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS
The Commission generally prohibits noncommercial educational stations from engaging in on-air fundraising activities on behalf of any entity other than the station itself. See 47 C.F.R. § 73.503(d). See also Commission Policy Concerning the Noncommercial Nature of Educational Broadcast Stations, 90 FCC 2d 895, 907 (1982). The Commission, however, has granted rule waivers for fundraising appeals to support relief efforts following disasters of particular uniqueness or magnitude, such as Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, and the January 2005 tsunami in Southeast Asia. These waivers have been issued for a specific fundraising program or programs, or for sustained station appeals for periods which generally do not exceed several days.
Should a licensee wish to solicit contributions from viewers or listeners for the Haiti relief efforts, it may file an informal request for a Section 73.503(d) waiver as follows:
1) The licensee may submit an electronic mail request to Barbara Kreisman(firstname.lastname@example.org), if the request involves a television station, or to Michael Wagner (email@example.com), if the request involves a radio station.
2) The request should provide basic details of the fundraising activity:
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 scheduledpledge drive or fundraising effort.
For additional information, please contact the television or radio contact provided above.
Please spread this around to our colleagues at other stations that would qualify.
One last note to those who want to help. There are a LOT of scams propagating already. Be wary and make use of the Charity Navigator to make sure that your money is actually going to Haiti and not into someone’s pocket. Give, but please give wisely. If the money does not make it there, it helps no one.