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FCC admonishes KTSM-TV El Paso over “kid vid” rules

The FCC has admonished Comcorp of El Paso License Corp., licensee of KTSM-TV El Paso, “for its failure to comply with the limits on commercial matter in children’s programming.”

The Children's Television Act of 1990 directed the FCC to adopt rules limiting the amount of commercial matter that commercial television stations may air during children's programming, and to consider in its review of television license renewals the extent to which the licensee has complied with such commercial limits. 

The FCC’s rules limit the amount of commercial matter which may be aired during children's programming to 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays.

The FCC also adopted rules addressing commercial websites which restrict the display of Internet web addresses during children’s programming directed at children ages 12 and under.

On March 31, KTSM filed its license renewal application for the station.

In response to Section IV, Question 5 of the application, station staff attached an exhibit which admitted that on October 12, 2013, KTSM aired the URL address for the website “,” which appeared during the closing credits of the NBC Network supplied children’s program “LazyTown” which was provided by Sprout, an NBCUniversal subsidiary that produces Saturday morning kids programming for NBC stations and its own pay-TV channel.

The station described the inclusion of the website address as being “inadvertently included” and “fleeting.” 

KTSM went on to highlight the precautions the NBC Network takes to avoid such an incident and stated that the NBC Network was “working with Sprout to develop and implement additional procedures to minimize the possibility of a re-occurrence of this isolated incident.”

The station said the website address was displayed for only a short duration (estimated at less than one-half of one second) as part of the program’s credits.

The FCC noted that it “has specifically stated that closing credits are considered to be part of the television programming material and are subject to the website address rule.  We note that while the commercial matter may have been inserted into the program by the station’s television network, this does not relieve the station of responsibility for the violations.”

However, the FCC did not fine the station, choosing to admonish it instead.

“We consider any violation of our rules limiting the amount of commercial matter in children’s programming to be significant” the FCC said, “the violation described in your license renewal application appears to have been an isolated occurrence.”

The FCC did not “rule out more severe sanctions for a similar violation of this nature in the future.”

Questions?  Contact TAB's Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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