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FCC to Set Kids' DTV Quota

Digital TV could spark a hiring boom for animators.

Next month, the Federal Communications Commission will greatly increase the amount of children’s programming TV stations must offer when they take advantage of digital technology’s ability to "multicast" several channels at once. Today, stations must offer three hours a week of children’s or educational programming.
Most meet the obligation with standard fare like Blue’s Clues, Dora the Explorer, Hey Arnold!, and Rugrats. Children’s advocates have been pushing for four years to expand the quota as stations bring extra digital channels on line.
The commissioners are expected to require an additional three hours a week of kids’ shows for each channel the station offers. The programming won’t have to be spread out among all the multicast channels, however.
A station could satisfy the requirement, for instance, by putting all the required shows on a kids' channel. The new rule is being teed up for a vote at the FCC’s Sept. 9 meeting.-Bill McConnell