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Noncoms Ask FCC for KidVid Flexibility

Noncommercial TV stations want the FCC to provide them more flexibility in helping commercial broadcasters meet their obligation to air three hours per week of educational/informational (E/I) programming.   In revamping its children's television rules, the FCC sought comment on whether it should allow broadcasters to meet their obligation.    Related: FCC Provides KidVid Compliance Guidance In July 2019, a politically divided FCC voted Wednesday (July 10) to give broadcasters more flexibility in providing educational/informational (E/I) programming for children, changes Democrats said dis-serve kids.   An accompanying Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking sought comment on a regime that would allow broadcasters to satisfy their kids programming obligations by, in part, producing or funding programs that aired on another station in their market, kind of like the regulatory equivalent of the Civil War option of paying someone else to fight.   But in a meeting with FCC commissioner Michael O'Rielly, who championed the KidVid revamp, Patrick Butler, president, and Lonna Thompson, executive VP and general counsel, at America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), asked the FCC to revise its tentative conclusion that the station partnerships result in new or expanded programming.    Instead, they said, commercial broadcasters should be able to fulfill that mandate by increasing the accessibility, availability, and image quality of E/I programming already airing on noncoms.

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