47 CFR § 73.621 - Noncommercial educational TV stations.
In addition to the other provisions of this subpart, the following shall be applicable to noncommercial educational television broadcast stations:
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, noncommercial educational broadcast stations will be licensed only to nonprofit educational organizations upon a showing that the proposed stations will be used primarily to serve the educational needs of the community; for the advancement of educational programs; and to furnish a nonprofit and noncommercial television broadcast service.
(1) In determining the eligibility of publicly supported educational organizations, the accreditation of their respective state departments of education shall be taken into consideration.
(2) In determining the eligibility of privately controlled educational organizations, the accreditation of state departments of education or recognized regional and national educational accrediting organizations shall be taken into consideration.
(b) Where a municipality or other political subdivision has no independently constituted educational organization such as, for example, a board of education having autonomy with respect to carrying out the municipality's educational program, such municipality shall be eligible for a noncommercial educational television broadcast station. In such circumstances, a full and detailed showing must be made that a grant of the application will be consistent with the intent and purpose of the Commission's rules and regulations relating to such stations.
(c) Noncommercial educational television broadcast stations may transmit educational, cultural and entertainment programs, and programs designed for use by schools and school systems in connection with regular school courses, as well as routine and administrative material pertaining thereto.
(d) A noncommercial educational television station may broadcast programs produced by or at the expense of, or furnished by persons other than the licensee, if no other consideration than the furnishing of the program and the costs incidental to its production and broadcast are received by the licensee. The payment of line charges by another station, network, or someone other than the licensee of a noncommercial educational television station, or general contributions to the operating costs of a station, shall not be considered as being prohibited by this paragraph.
(e) Each station shall furnish a nonprofit and noncommercial broadcast service. Noncommercial educational television stations shall be subject to the provisions of § 73.1212 to the extent that they are applicable to the broadcast of programs produced by, or at the expense of, or furnished by others. No promotional announcements on behalf of for profit entities shall be broadcast at any time in exchange for the receipt, in whole or in part, of consideration to the licensee, its principals, or employees. However, acknowledgements of contributions can be made. The scheduling of any announcements and acknowledgements may not interrupt regular programming, except as permitted under paragraph (f) of this section.
Commission interpretation of this rule, including the acceptable form of acknowledgements, may be found in the Second Report and Order in Docket No. 21136 (Commission Policy Concerning the Noncommercial Nature of Educational Broadcast Stations), 86 F.C.C. 2d 141 (1981); the Memorandum Opinion and Order in Docket No. 21136, 90 FCC 2d 895 (1982); the Memorandum Opinion and Order in Docket 21136, 49 FR 13534, April 5, 1984; and the Report and Order in Docket No. 12-106 (Noncommercial Educational Station Fundraising for Third-Party Non-Profit Organizations), FCC 17-41, April 20, 2017.
(f) A noncommercial educational television station may interrupt regular programming to conduct fundraising activities on behalf of a third-party non-profit organization, provided that all such fundraising activities conducted during any given year do not exceed one percent of the station's total annual airtime. A station may use the prior year's total airtime for purposes of determining how many hours constitute one percent of its total annual airtime. With respect to stations that multicast programming on two or more separate channels, the one-percent annual limit will apply separately to each individual programming stream. For purposes of this paragraph, a non-profit organization is an entity that qualifies as a non-profit organization under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).
(1) Audience disclosure. A noncommercial educational television station that interrupts regular programming to conduct fundraising activities on behalf of a third-party non-profit organization must air a disclosure during such activities clearly stating that the fundraiser is not for the benefit of the station itself and identifying the entity for which it is fundraising. The station must air the audience disclosure at the beginning and the end of each fundraising program and at least once during each hour in which the program is on the air.
(2) Reimbursement. A noncommercial educational television station that interrupts regular programming to conduct fundraising activities on behalf of a third-party non-profit organization may accept reimbursement of expenses incurred in conducting third-party fundraising activities or airing third-party fundraising programs.
(3) Exemption. No noncommercial educational television station that receives funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting shall have the authority to interrupt regular programming to conduct fundraising activities on behalf of a third-party non-profit organization.
(g) Telecommunications Service on the Vertical Blanking Interval and in the Visual Signal. The provisions governing VBI and visual signal telecommunications service in § 73.646 are applicable to noncommercial educational TV stations.
(h) Non-program related data signals transmitted on Line 21 pursuant to § 73.682(a)(22)(ii) may be used for remunerative purposes.
(j) With respect to the provision of advanced television services, the requirements of this section will apply to the entire digital bitstream of noncommercial educational television stations, including the provision of ancillary or supplementary services.