TV Stations Given Leeway to Air Local Community Events by FCC

(Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

WASHINGTON—TV stations have more flexibility to air live local community events, including religious services, during typical children’s programming time slots for a limited window thanks to an FCC decision. 

This comes as two major religious holidays take place, Easter and Passover, and the ability to air religious services are meant to encourage people to stay home rather than go to live services as the U.S. practices social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

“By making it easier for local TV stations to broadcast religious services and rituals to the faithful in their homes, we can enable both social distancing and observance,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

The waiver allows local broadcasters to air important local community content in place of weekly, regularly scheduled children’s programming without the requirement that it be rescheduled, per the FCC. Stations will be required to inform viewers that children’s programming has been preempted and encourages stations to reschedule that programming, along with providing rescheduling info to viewers.

The waiver will remain in effect until April 30.

Easter was Sunday, April 12. Passover continues until Thursday, April 16.