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FCC admonishes KXAN, KRIS over “kid vid” rules

Two more Texas FCC stations have been admonished by the FCC In the latest round of TV stations cited by the commission over admissions in this year’s license renewal process. The FCC said the two TV stations failed “to comply with the limits on commercial matter in children’s programming.”  

KXAN-TV Austin and KRIS-TV Corpus Christi admitted the error in each station’s license renewal.   Other Texas NBC affiliates have also been issued the same letter of admonishment stemming for airing the URL address for the website during the closing credits of the children’s program “LazyTown.”   Both stations said the the inclusion of the website address was “inadvertently included” and “fleeting,” and that the programming was supplied to the station through the NBC network, by Sprout (an NBC subsidiary) as part of the NBC  children’s Saturday morning programming.

As part of the FCC’s response to the passage of the 1990 Children’s Television Act, it adopted website address rules that restrict the display of Internet web addresses during children’s programming directed at children ages 12 and under.  

Specifically, Section 73.670(b) permits the display of Internet website addresses during program material or promotional material not counted as commercial time only if:

  1. the website offers a substantial amount of bona fide program-related or other noncommercial content;
  2. the website is not primarily intended for commercial purposes, including either e-commerce or  advertising;
  3. the website's home page and other menu pages are clearly labeled to distinguish the  noncommercial from the commercial sections; and
  4. the page of the website to which viewers are  directed by the website address is not used for e-commerce, advertising, or other commercial purposes (e.g., contains no links labeled “store” and no links to another page with commercial material).

The FCC said the website address listed did not meet the fourth prong of the test as the homepage included a “shop” tab for the purpose of making purchases.

The FCC said it “has consistently held that reliance on a program’s source or producer for compliance with our children's television rules and policies will not excuse or mitigate violations which do occur.  

While corrective actions may have been taken to prevent future violations, this does not relieve the station from liability for violations which have already occurred.  Although we consider any violation of our rules limiting the amount of commercial matter in children’s programming to be significant, the violation described in your license renewal application appears to have been an isolated occurrence.”

In its letter to both stations, the FCC noted that it would “not rule out more severe sanctions for a similar violation of this nature in the future, we have determined that an admonition is appropriate at this time.”

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

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