FCC chairman Reed Hundt has floated plans requiring TV stations to air three hours a week of children’s educational programming, a figure that would increase a half-hour annually over four years until it reaches a five-hour-a-week mandate.
Under the proposal, broadcasters could avoid airing all but an hour a week of kidvid by paying other TV stations in the market to air children’s shows.
Public interest groups such as the Center for Media Education have fought for an hour-a-day requirement, but have balked at the notion of allowing stations to opt out of the full mandate. A National Assn. of Broadcasters staffer said the NAB has always had serious problems with any type of program quotas.
Federal Communications Commission sources said it is “unlikely” that Hundt will be able to line up two other votes needed from the five-member agency to pass his plan. The FCC is planning to propose changing its children’s TV rules at its April meeting, although there is speculation the vote could be pushed back a month.