Federal Communications Commission Lets Kids Down
After 10-Year Wait, FCC Takes No Action Against Stations Violating Children’s Television Act
OAKLAND, CA— After waiting a decade to release their decision on multiple petitions to deny broadcaster license renewals for violations of the Children’s Television Act, today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced they were denying the petitions. The petitions were originally filed against the stations for the broadcast of inadequate educational content.
The Children’s Television Act requires that broadcasters air a certain number of hours of “core” educational and informational programming for children. The FCC defines core programming as shows directed to kids 16 and under that further children’s positive development, including serving their cognitive, social or emotional needs. The broadcasters in question were accused of counting programming toward this requirement that had inadequate educational content, and claiming that programming was for children when it appeared to be oriented to adults.
Eileen Espejo, Director of Media & Health Policy at Children Now, said she was very disappointed in today’s order.
“It took the FCC over a decade to issue this order, which shows that the license renewal process is broken,” she said. “A lot of time and effort went into the development of those petitions, and it’s frustrating that the FCC failed to engage with the issues they raised. With this order, The FCC has essentially said that they will not enforce the educational requirement in the Children’s Television Act.”
Minority children are more likely to be affected when broadcasters don’t fulfill their educational programming obligations. The nearly 100 million US households that don’t subscribe to broadband are more likely to depend on broadcast TV for educational shows. A National Association of Broadcasters survey found that minorities currently make up 41% of broadcast-only homes. For these families especially, broadcast television remains a central part of their daily media consumption. In declining to take action against broadcasters violating the Children’s Television Act, the FCC is failing to provide a healthy media environment for millions of American kids.< Back to all Press Releases