On April 17, 2007, the FCC released a Public Notice inviting comments on the status of children's television programming. The Commission released the Public Notice in furtherance of its 2004 Order addressing, among other things, the obligation of television broadcasters to provide educational and informational (E/I) programming for children. In addition to inviting general comments on the state of children's programming, the FCC asked whether, and in what ways, broadcasters are complying with the Children's Television Act (CTA) and the FCC's children's programming rules. Specifically, the Commission inquired whether the current level of preemptions of core programming affects compliance with the CTA and Congressional intent.
The Commission also posed several inquiries regarding its criteria for "core" E/I children's programming, including:
- Whether the programming broadcasters have reported as core programming generally meets the FCC's standards.
- Whether the core programming criteria listed in the FCC's rules are adequate to properly define E/I programming.
- Whether the criteria fulfill the requirements of the CTA.
- Whether the FCC should consider additional criteria.
To qualify as core programming under the FCC's rules, E/I programming must have serving the E/I needs of children ages 16 and under as a significant purpose. The programming must be aired on a regularly scheduled weekly basis between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., be at least 30 minutes in duration, and be identified via on-screen display of the symbol "E/I" throughout the program. Broadcasters must also satisfy reporting requirements for core programming and provide certain labeling information to program guide publishers.