PBS gets green light to air telethon


Public television stations received FCC approval to air the Hollywood telethon for victims of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Generally non-commercial broadcasters are prohibited from on-air fundraising for any organizations besides themselves, including charities but the commission granted a one-time waiver allowing public outlets to aid efforts to assist victims of the national tragedy. "There have been miscellaneous requests in past from local stations that wanted to raise funds for groups like Red Cross and we review them on a case-by-case basis," said an FCC spokesman.

PBS has signed on to carry the telethon for victims of last week's terrorist attacks along with eight broadcast networks, HBO, MTV: Music Television, VH1, TNN: The National Network, Country Music Television, Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel. The event, America: A Tribute to Heroes airs Friday, Sept. 21, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. (EST) and features a host of celebrities, including Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts and Mariah Carey. - Bill McConnell