The requirements for advertising were considerably clear, but the requirements were vague for the amount and quality of programming. Therefore broadcast and cable networks were able to get away with not fulfilling the educational and informational requirements. As I noted before, the FCC sited that educational programming had considerably decreased even after the Children’s TV Act of 1990 was instated. Accordingly, the FCC called for revisions.
In 1993, the FCC initiated a proceeding to determine how it could more clearly define and better enforce the programming requirements of the Children’s TV Act. On August 8, 1996, the FCC issued a Report and Order detailing new rules regarding educational television for children (A). The new regulations were designed to clarify commercial broadcasters'
|obligations to serve the educational and informational
needs of children (D). The FCC said that the order was necessary because
vague language of the Children's Television Act of 1990 led to variation in
the way broadcasters complied with the Act. In addition, broadcasters
were claiming to satisfy their obligations to the child audience with programs
that could not be reasonably viewed as "specifically designed" to educate
and inform children. There was also a problem with the public
being able to identify which shows the broadcasters designed to be educational
or informational (D).
The new revisions said broadcasters could demonstrate that they met the educational and informational requirements of the Children’s Television Act by airing three hours a week of core programming, programming specifically designed to educate and inform children. Core programming must be at least 30 minutes long and must be scheduled between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Alternatively, broadcasters can demonstrate to the commission that although they have
|not aired three hours of core programming weekly,
they have provided an equivalent amount of educational and informational programming
that may include public service announcements and programming shorter or
less regularly or frequently scheduled as core programming. Finally,
broadcasters can demonstrate that they have compiled with the act by providing
a combination of relevant programming, sponsorship of core programming on
other stations in the same market, or special non-broadcast efforts which
enhance the value of children’s educational and informational programming.
To prove that commercial broadcast licensees are complying with the Children’s Television Act, they must keep a record of their programming and non-programming efforts for children. Commercial broadcasters are required to keep a public file that includes a description of the programs meeting the statutory requirements as well as the time, date, and duration of the
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