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FCC Reprimands Stations For Violations During Children's Programming

The FCC officially reprimanded two stations for violating rules in children's programming on Monday.  

WTXX Waterbury, Conn. was admonished for airing a show with an extra 60-second commercial in it--the FCC limits ads in kids shows to 10.5 minutes on weekends and 12 minutes on weekdays--as well as for three program-length commercials, including the Pokemon E-Reader.

The FCC also Monday admonished Paxson's WBPX Boston for failing to supply the age range of its kids shows to electronic guide publishers.

The commission treats any show featuring an advertisement with a character from that show in it as a program-length commercial.  In the Connecticut case, it was the Nintendo Gameboy E-Reader ad in now defunct Pokemon program on the now-defunct WB.

In the Pokemon ad there is a fleeting and partially obscured Pokemon game card, but that has been enough for the FCC to propose fining a bunch of stations that aired the show. It was a national ad buy on The WB.

WTXX put up several arguments for why it should not be fined over the fleeting Pokemon, including that it had not known about the fleeting image until The WB told the station about it after the fact. And, in an argument apparently supplied by The WB since Tribune also used it, even invoked an FCC indecency decision that the commission has said before and said again was not germane.

The FCC said the indecency precedent was not on point since it dealt with the fleeting appearance of a four-letter word in the background of an Amazing Race episode and "did not deal with the commingling of program content and commercial matter in children’s programming.”

All the stations volunteered the information about the violations as part of their license renewal applications.