• FCC modernises children’s TV programming regulations
  • Broadcaster’s to air from 6am to 10pm daily
  • Safe-harbouring processes has been established

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FCC: Increased quota for educational specials for children’s TV

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The US Federal Communications Commission has modernised its broadcaster regulations and rules on children’s television enabling greater scheduling flexibility and diversity in programming.  

The update reflects the myriad of changes in the media marketplace since the FCC first adopted children’s programming rules nearly 30 years ago.

Broadcasters will now have greater scheduling flexibility, providing relevant and educational programming for children at an earlier start time.

Broadcasters can now air children’s programming from 6 am until 10 pm.

The FCC also increased the quota for educational specials and short-form programming to a combined 52 hours a year, which will contribute toward the requirement that 156 hours of regularly scheduled core programming is aired annually.

It has also changed the safe-harbour processing guidelines to determine compliance and now allows broadcasters to be approved for a license renewal based on quarterly and annual totals instead of only weekly averages.

According to a statement released by the FCC yesterday, the modifications will enable broadcasters to offer more diverse and innovative educational programming, whilst relieving unnecessary burdens from outdated rules.

Among other key revisions, the update:

  • Expands the 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. timeframe to allow broadcasters to begin airing children’s programming one hour earlier, at 6:00 a.m.;
  • Modifies the safe harbor processing guidelines used in determining compliance with the children’s programming rules;
  • Allows up to 52 hours a year of children’s programming to consist of educational specials and/or short-form programming;
  • Requires stations to air the substantial majority of their Core Programming on their primary program stream but allows stations to air up to 13 hours per quarter of regularly scheduled weekly programming on a multicast stream;
  • Streamlines the children’s programming reporting requirements.

“Children today have a wide variety of educational programming options available from broadcast and non-broadcast sources, including cable children’s networks, streaming options, and online providers,” the statement confirmed, “Today’s actions continue the Commission’s Moderniaation of Media Regulation Initiative to eliminate or modify regulations that are outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome.”