The compromise that was moving the Federal Communications Commission closer to a resolution on the issue of children’s television programming appears to have been sidetracked.
FCC Chairman Reed Hundt wants to strictly define the mandate as three hours of programming. Commissioner Susan Ness’ proposal provides a greater margin than Hundt’s in what could qualify as educational programming. Commissioners Rachelle Chong and James Quello moved toward a compromise solution that provides that broadcast owners be given flexibility in meeting the three-hour mandate. Quello later reversed his support.
A spokesperson for the National Association of Broadcasting (NAB), which is against the notion of a three-hour quota, says that the NAB could support a requirement that gives stations flexibility to what counts as the three hours. The NAB may challenge the rule in court should the mandate dictate three hours of programming specifically.
The FCC was scheduled to release a final ruling by the end of July.
In related news:
- President Clinton, a strong proponent of the V-Chip and a ratings system for children’s programming, is holding a summit at the end of July with leaders in the entertainment industry and television networks to discuss how to improve children’s programming. The President had called for the summit in a speech made at Glendale Community College in California on June 11. Details of the summit were not available at press time.
- The NAB will for the first time fund a pilot for a proposed Saturday morning educational program targeted to children between the ages of 10 and 17. ‘WAVE,’ described as part-MTV, part-news show is being developed in conjunction with the Illinois-based American Center for Children’s Television. The NAB hopes to debut the show at NATPE in January.