WASHINGTON — The Big Three networks were given final approval Friday from the FCC to preempt, on a limited basis, educational children’s television programming for live sports events.
The networks need the exemptions because of a new rule that goes into effect Sept. 1, requiring TV stations to air at least three hours of educational kidvid each week.
The FCC agreed to allow the webs to preempt the educational kidvid for their sports programming as long as the kidvid was rescheduled for another time in the same week. The webs also agreed to heavily promote the preempted kidvid at its rescheduled timeslot.
But in its letters to three networks, the FCC made clear that the permission to preempt the educational TV shows was only good for one year. “We will, of course, revisit our conclusions here, based on the experience gained during the 1997/1998 season,” wrote the FCC’s Renee Licht, assistant mass media bureau chief.
The FCC noted that this is the first year that the new rule is in effect and therefore, the agency said it wanted to give the networks as much leeway as possible in meeting the new mandate, especially since the sports schedules were in place before the new rules.