We may sometimes forget that broadcast stations have certain Federal Communication Commission requirements when it comes to programming -- specifically children's "informational" and "educational" content.
But what if these regulations didn't just apply to kids programming? What if networks needed to have a specific number of comedies, dramas, reality and news programs? Sounds crazy, but maybe this would give some networks a needed jolt -- if not some needed failure.
Other countries have program content requirements. In recent news from the U.K., regulators might require commercial networks ITV and Channel 5 to expand their public service broadcasting commitments via an increase in news and original programming.
Specifics haven't been released. But does that mean fewer “reruns,” and does “news” include heavy commentary and opinionated content like what we see here on Fox News, MSNBC, and others? Will there be a requirement for specific "news" content?
In the U.S., the FCC doesn't need to push for more original programming. Networks know that original programming is a big selling point with viewers.
News programming -- not always profitable or strategically appropriate -- can be a trickier category. The CW will probably never have news programming, for example. While the U.K. and other nations may require a certain level of news programming, this isn't the case in the U.S. for TV stations and broadcast networks. That said, the FCC does take issue when it comes protecting equal access on TV for political candidates.
Programming requirements in the U.S? We already have rapid growth in the diversity of content on cable, satellite, telco, Internet and other digitally delivered TV platforms. There is so much of everything. Or maybe we are missing something.
No, it wouldn't be good to have a U.S. regulatory agency telling a network or TV station, for example, "You need more three-camera sitcoms.” But we would seem to need stations and networks to push for more development, a process that could perhaps be shared more with viewers. We need more, and splashier, programming failures.