The four major broadcast networks, joined by some public interest groups, have proposed a compromise on the FCC's new KidVid rules in an effort to avoid a showdown in court. Specifically, the networks and public interest groups are suggesting revisions to the Web site rule, the host-selling rule, the promotions rule, the preemption rule and the multicasting rule. If the FCC adopts these recommendations, the networks and public interest groups will drop their court challenges to the new rules. Currently, the rules are subject to stay while petitions are being reconsidered.
Web site rule
In the current rules, the FCC bans the display of Web site addresses in a children's program when the site uses characters from that program to sell products or services. The networks suggest that the FCC rule should be replaced with a more specific rule prohibiting the display of a Web site address only during or adjacent to a program where:
- products are being sold that feature a character appearing in that program
- a character appearing in that program is used to actively sell products.
The networks and public interest groups proposed that broadcasters certify compliance with these host-selling rules in the same manner as they currently certify compliance with the advertising limits.
The networks propose clarifying the rule to provide that:
- the rule apply when Internet addresses appear during program material or in promotional material not counted as commercial time
- if an Internet address is displayed during a promotion for program material and the immediately available pages on the featured Web site contain commercial matter, then in addition to counting against the commercial time limits, the promotion must be clearly separated from programming material.
In relation, the networks urge that the FCC's definition of commercial time exclude promotions for children's programming on the same channel or educational and informational programming on any other channel. The FCC's new rules changed the long-standing definition of commercial matter to include promotions of any television programs other than educational and informational programs.
With respect to preemptions of core programming, the networks recommend eliminating all percentage and other numerical limitations on preemptions of core children's programming.
The networks recommend keeping the new multicasting rule with one minor clarification. The current rule states that if 50 percent or more of a station's core programming is repeated during the same week, the excess does not qualify as core programming. Under the clarification, repeating core programming on the main channel or on any multicast DTV channel will not count in meeting the additional hourly core programming requirements that accrue as a result of multicasting.
Harry C. Martin is the immediate-past president of the Federal Communications Bar Association and a member of Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth PLC.
April 1 is the deadline for TV, LPTV and Class A stations and TV translators in Texas to file their 2006 renewal applications. Texas TV stations must file, along with their renewal applications, their biennial ownership reports and EEO program reports. Class A TV stations in Texas must file EEO program reports with their renewals, but not ownership reports.
April 1 is the deadline for TV stations in Delaware and Pennsylvania to file their 2006 biennial reports.
April 1 is the start date for pre-filing renewal announcements for TV, Class A and LPTV stations that originate programming in the states of Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming in anticipation of a June 1 renewal filing date.
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