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.