FCC To Broadcasters: Get Real About Kids Shows

For the Federal Communications Commission, it's not just the amount of specific TV devoted to kids programming. Now the question is, what defines a kids show?

The FCC wants broadcasters to comment on Children's Television Act of 2004 as part of an inquiry into adjusting broadcasters TV obligations in the digital age. In short, if FCC-criteria needs work.

Such action has been pushed by Democrats. The House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey recently had questions for the FCC about its enforcement of Markey's Children's Television Act, in reference to some recent violations, specifically with Univision. Right now, the FCC requires stations to air at least three hours a week of educational or informational kids shows. But it leaves it up to broadcasters to take from there.

That leeway caused problems. Certain broadcasters have used a variety of shows, some seemingly not targeted to kids, such as Major League Baseball or soap operas, to meet those requirements. Univision had used teen-targeted telenovellas, which caused an outcry from kids TV activists. As a result, Univision paid a record $24 million in penalties to the FCC, which said the shows were not educational or informational.

In light of the Univision decision, FCC is asking broadcasters for other specifics as it relates to content, licensing, program pre-emptions and other areas.



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