Formal notice has been published in the Federal Register of the FCC’s changes in the children’s television rules.
This sets the effective date for most of those new rules. If you own and/or operate TV stations, what this means is likely of vital importance.
Wilkinson Barker Knauer attorney David Oxenford notes in a fresh blog post that the effective date for the majority of the new KidVid rules is September 16.
First, he notes, the elimination of the obligation to air three hours of children’s educational and informational programming for each digital multicast channel will expire on that date.
Second, the ability to count children’s educational programming broadcast as early as 6am toward the broadcaster’s obligations to run 3 hours per week of such programming on its primary channel will also take effect that day, as will the ability to meet that three-hour requirement with up to one hour of programming broadcast on a multicast channel.
“A number of other changes, particularly in the ability of a broadcaster to compute its compliance based on a quarterly obligation rather than a weekly one and liberalizing the preemption rules, are also to take effect on September 16,” Oxenford notes. “See our summary here of the changes in the rules.”
Rules not yet taking effect are those rules that impose new or different paperwork requirements.
Thus, the change in reporting obligations to an annual FCC filing instead of a quarterly one remains pending until approved by the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act.
The rule amending the obligation to inform program guides about certain aspects of children’s programming (including the ages to which the programs are targeted) is also still being reviewed, Oxenford adds.
The FCC is expected to issue additional guidance about how (or whether) to complete the next quarterly FCC Form 398 children’s television programming report, which is currently due October 10.
The FCC is moving to an annual report, but because of these Paperwork Reduction Act requirements, the new form has not been approved yet.