FCC Set to Propose Easing of Children’s Television Rules

WASHINGTON — The FCC on Thursday will take the first step toward easing a set of rules that requires the amount and type of children’s programming broadcasters must provide to maintain their licenses — but the changes have already raised concerns among parents groups.

The rules date to the 1990s, and were put in place after decades of advocacy from parents groups who were frustrated at a landscape of cartoons and live-action shows that were overly commercialized or too full of violence and bluster. But since children increasingly watch on demand or on an array of other platforms, some FCC commissioners say that the restrictions are outdated.

“Not only are they unnecessary, but after over two decades of experience with the 1996 enhanced regulations, there is scant evidence to indicate that children’s programming on broadcast stations has improved,” Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, the chief proponent of the revisions, wrote in a blog post earlier this year.

For much of the 1970s and ’80s, kid vid advocates, led by Peggy Charren of Action for Children’s Television, pushed for requirements on broadcasters to improve their fare for children.

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