Children Now and the United Church of Christ have asked FCC chairman Julius Genachowski to act on two complaints pending for four and five years, respectively, challenging the shows a trio of TV stations offered up as meeting FCC educational kids show requirements.
Genachwoski has opened a proceeding into content control technologies as part of a broader review of kids TV rules in the digital age. In a letter to the chairman, the groups note the proceeding, but push for resolution of their petitions to deny license renewals for three stations to both demonstrate that the FCC is serious about its educational/informational (E/I) requirement and to give broadcasters more guidance on what will and won't pass muster.
UCC and Children Now have long been critical of the self-certification process and of the shows broadcasters argue are E/I compliant. That self-certification has led to some interesting calls, including billing The Flintstones as a history lesson or a baseball pre-game show as educational because it teaches how to throw a curve ball.
Children Now released a report last year that alleged that only one in eight E/I-labeled shows actually were.
"It is not fair to broadcasters or concerned advocates for petitions to deny broadcaster licenses to last as long as the license renewal process itself," they wrote in a letter Thursday. "For these reasons, we hope you will direct the Media Bureau to begin reviewing these pending proceedings immediately."
The chairman has said his bureau chiefs have been instructed to clear out complaint backlogs where possible.