It took almost three years of conflict and compromise, but the FCC finally adopted a rule Thursday requiring local commercial TV stations to provide a minimum of three hours of children's educational programming per week, beginning next January.

This is the same rule that was hammered out by President Clinton and broadcasters almost two weeks ago. To keep their licenses, stations must fill their quota with regularly scheduled half-hour shows and up to a half-hour's worth of public-service programs (like ABC's Schoolhouse Rocks) aired weekly between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. The ruling also defines educational programming to exclude programs like The Jetsons or Leave It to Beaver.

The four FCC commissioners unanimously approved the regulation. Rachelle Chong and James Quello--who had previously called the three-hour quota inflexible and unconstitutional--said they were satisfied that changes in the regulations now gave broadcasters sufficient freedom to select programming. "Our vote today is the most important vote for children and education ever cast at the commission," said Chairman Reed Hundt.

Broadcasters must begin labeling programs as educational in January but have until September 1997 to comply with the three-hour rule.

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.