Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

FCC and 7 A.M. Follies

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

FCC and 7 A.M. Follies

Article excerpt

IT'S 7 o'clock Saturday morning. The kids come bounding into the bedroom dressed, beds made (!), and breathlessly asking if they can fire up the television to watch two hours of educational programs.

What's wrong with this picture? Outside of public television and a cable channel or two, it is hard to find much education or information aired Saturday mornings, despite the 1990 Children's Television Act.

That troubles the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Rep. Edward Markey (D) of Massachusetts. Mr. Markey, who chairs the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, has scheduled hearings for tomorrow on enforcement of the act. The act requires broadcasters to show their commitment to the educational needs of youngsters when they renew their licenses.

His committee's review is needed; the law is extremely vague. The measure's framers tried to establish a principle without restricting freedom of speech. But while vague guidelines let some stations off the hook by airing "G. …

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