At its July 10 meeting, the FCC updated its children’s television programming rules, providing “broadcasters greater scheduling flexibility, enables them to offer more diverse and innovative educational programming and relieves unnecessary burdens while ensuring that educational programming remains available to all children.”
The commission added that the updates “reflect the myriad changes in the media marketplace since the FCC first adopted children’s programming rules nearly 30 years ago. Children today have a wide variety of educational programming options available from broadcast and non-broadcast sources, including cable children’s networks, streaming options, and online providers.”
Among other key revisions, the new rules:
- Expand the 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. time frame to allow broadcasters to begin airing children’s programming one hour earlier, at 6 a.m.
- Modifies the safe harbor processing guidelines used in determining compliance with the children’s programming rules.
- Allows up to 52 hours a year of children’s programming to consist of educational specials and/or short-form programming.
- Requires stations to air the substantial majority of their Core Programming on their primary program stream but allows stations to air up to 13 hours per quarter of regularly scheduled weekly programming on a multicast stream.
- Streamlines the children’s programming reporting requirements.
Also adopted was a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks additional comment on the creation of a framework under which broadcasters could satisfy their children’s programming obligations by relying, in part, on efforts to sponsor children’s programming aired on other in-market stations.