The government needs to pass rules requiring all broadcasters to generate specific amounts of children’s educational TV or risk losing their licenses, Federal Communications Commission chairman Reed Hundt said last week.

“The FCC has clearly failed to guarantee that the airwaves are used to deliver the most important benefit possible: educational and informational TV for children,” Hundt told a gathering here of Women in Government Relations.

In his second public address last week concerning kidvid, the FCC topper said he disagrees with two fellow commissioners that mandating specific kidvid limits would violate First Amendment rights of broadcasters. “The First Amendment was not intended to limit the capability of parents, adults or government to protect and raise children,” he said.

Hundt said he hopes the children’s TV proceeding under way at the commission will produce such a requirement, as well as a plan to guarantee that the communications revolution reaches “every child and every teacher in every classroom in the country.” Linking classroom computers to networks can revolutionize education and turn schools into centers of “creative communities of learning and opportunity,” Hundt said.

In an address titled “Long Live Frieda Hennock” – for the FCC’s first female member and kidvid crusader, who was appointed by President Harry Truman in 1948- Hundt blasted the TV networks for their flagging interest in children’s TV.

“This spring, ABC canceled ‘Cro,’ one of two educational children’s programs on its Saturday morning schedule, and replaced it with a cartoon version of the hit movie, ‘Dumb and Dumber,’ he noted. “This is beyond irony. ‘Dumb and Dumber’ is a description of this decision, not just a title.”

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