CW Affiliates Cited for Crossing Cartoon Character-Ad Line

WASHINGTON—Two TV stations in the Midwest are the latest to get slapped over kids’ programming goofs. KCWE-TV in Kansas City, Mo., and WXOW-TV in La Crosse, Wis., were both admonished by the Federal Communications Commission for showing kid’s programming characters in a commercial during the same show.

Quincy Newspaper’s ABC and CW affiliate, WXOW, and Hearst-owned CW affiliate KCWE were cited for showing cartoon characters from “Xiaolin Showdown” in an ad for Cocoa Pebbles that aired during that same show. WXOW reported the incident, which occurred Dec. 23, 2006, in its license renewal application filed Aug. 1, 2013.

The FCC said the incident was an apparent example of “host-selling,” which “involves program-related characters promoting any product during the program in question and is a practice that the commission has denounced because it takes unfair advantage of the trust that children place in such characters.” Both stations argued that the characters actually appeared during a product-related contest promotion, but the commission wasn’t buying it. The stations got by with a warning, however, since the incident appeared to be “isolated,” according to the FCC.

Last week, two broadcasters were fined a total of $21,000 for children’s programming violations. Killeen Christian Broadcasting Corp.’s KPLE-CD in Killeen, Texas, was fined $6,000 for failing to file its children’s TV reports and its ownership reports for 2008 and 2009 in a timely manner. The omissions were included in the station’s April 1, 2014 license renewal application.

Glendive Broadcasting, owner of KXGN-TV, the CBS and NBC affiliate in Glendive, Mont. the smallest of Nielsen’s designated market areas in the United States, was fined $15,000 for failing to file eight quarterly children’s programming reports and filing 14 more late since its last renewal in 1998. The station’s 2005 license renewal application remains pending due to incomplete filings involving its 2004 annual equal employment opportunity report.

The current TV station license renewal cycle started in 2012 and runs through this year, with stations and translators subject to staggered deadlines according to groups of states. Children’s programming reports for the second quarter of 2014 were due July 10. Q314 reports will be due Oct. 10, 2014