E/I Bug Not Yet a Requirement

Some broadcasters appear to have been under the impression that they had to start putting the "educational/informational" bug on all kids' shows they want to qualify as Federal Communications Commission-friendly programs toward their mandated three hours per week of core educational kids' shows.

False alarm, or at least premature.

Although the FCC did indeed make that bug--which must air on-screen through the entirety of the show--a requirement in its updated kids rules adopted last November, the bug requirement will not become effective until probably sometime in May at the earliest.

The bug requirement is considered an information collection obligation, which must first be approved by OMB per the Paperwork Reduction Act.

An FCC source says that the OMB OK of the bug rule is expected in April or May. Once OMB signs off, the FCC will release a public notice. It could technically make the effective date immediate, but would probably give broadcasters, both commercial and noncommercial, 30 days to add the bugs.New commercial limits kicked in Feb. 3, but other elements of new kids rules, including restrictions on Web sites promoted in shows, and limits on promos for non-educational content, won't trigger until later.
* New rules restricting links from shows to commercial or transactional sites were delayed until Jan. 1, 2006, after broadcasters complained a Feb. 1, 2005, date could not logistically be met.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.