Election, Form 990, and White Spaces (11/06/08)

Participate in Post-Election Advocacy

Washington, D.C. – Record participation in this week’s elections should fuel ongoing public engagement in the political process.  The Obama Presidential Administration and the new Congress - with an increased Democratic majority – will take office in January.  Your voice will be essential to advancing a robust national arts agenda.   While the Presidency and Congressional seats have now been chosen, key decisions about policy priorities and leadership appointments, such as the new Chair of the National Endowment of the Arts, will be made in the coming months.  Congress will likely wait until the new term begins before taking up any major funding bills, but there is a potential for policy activity during the “lame duck” session before the end of 2008.  The League will keep you up to date. In the meantime, the next two months provide an excellent opportunity to contact Members of Congress while they are at home. Don’t forget to reach out to both newly and re-elected officials to describe the public value your orchestra provides in your community.
Build a Relationship with Policymakers

Nonprofit Execs Name Priorities for Next Administration
Orchestra executive directors say that expanding incentives for charitable giving, increasing grant support for capacity building, and boosting federal funding for the arts are the top three nonprofit policy actions the next Administration can take to support the work orchestras do in their communities.  The results are reported in the Johns Hopkins Listening Post Project’s most recent communiqué, entitled, “Nonprofit Policy Priorities for the New Administration.”   This is the first Listening Post survey in which orchestras have participated, alongside their nonprofit counterparts in the areas of family and elderly services, community development, and arts and culture.

Learn More about Listening Post Results

Ready for the New Form 990?
As reported earlier this year, the Internal Revenue Service is requiring nonprofit organizations to file a new version of the Form 990 to report on FY08 activity.  On Wednesday, November 19, 2008 the League will be hosting a webinar for orchestra executive directors, finance professionals, and board chairs preparing to adapt to the new Form. 
White Space Moving Day - February 17

The wireless microphone technology currently in use by orchestras and other performing arts organizations will soon undergo changes.  As TV goes digital in February, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is re-examining the use of the broadcast spectrum, specifically the “white space” that exists between broadcast television channels.  Recent auction of the “white space” is resulting in a reorganization of the broadcast spectrum, changes to the allowable uses of the spectrum, and the development of new devices. 

On November 4, the FCC voted to authorize the use of new devices that would operate in the same space currently used for wireless microphones.  Also, a specific part of the white space (channels 52-69) has been auctioned off, and current users, including performing arts groups, will be required to vacate this part of the spectrum by February 17, 2009.

The Performing Arts Alliance, of which the League is a member, has filed comments with the FCC on behalf of the nonprofit performing arts community, urging the agency to find a viable solution to protect wireless audio devices from interference as new devices come into use.  We are encouraging all parties to find a solution that is affordable for nonprofit orchestras and that will guarantee that migration to new technology and a new location on the broadcast spectrum will be free of interference during performances.

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