E/I Bug Deadline Set for Sept. 19

As the summer draws to a close in September, the bugs will come out—broadcasters’ informational/educational bugs.

The FCC Wednesday announced Monday, Sept. 19, as the deadline for broadcasters to begin displaying an on-screen “educational/informational,” or E/I, bug throughout children’s programs.

The bug must air on-screen through the entirety of a show for broadcasters to get credit toward the FCC’s mandated three-hour weekly minimum of educational children’s programming.

The E/I bug requirement applies to commercial and non-commercial broadcasters alike.

Earlier this month, the Office of Management and Budget approved the FCC’s decision to require broadcasters to display the bug. The OMB had to approve the bug requirement because it is considered an information collection obligation and subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act.

The FCC adopted the on-screen obligation as part of its larger kids’ rule rewrite last November. Commercial time limits went into effect on Feb. 3, but the E/I bug implementation was slowed down by the OMB approval process slowed down.

Other children's programming requirements have yet to kick in. Restrictions on Web sites promoted in shows and limits on promos for non-educational content won't start until Jan. 1, 2006, because broadcasters said they could not meet a Feb. 1 deadline.