Annual Children’s TV Report and Commercial Limits Certifications Due in January

Posted on December 30th, 2022 by

By January 31, 2023, commercial full power and Class-A TV stations must prepare and file children’s television reports for 2022 and upload children’s television commercial limits certifications to their public file for all of 2022.

Failure to timely file the annual children’s television report, or the reporting of less than the required amount of core children’s television programming, can result in delays and fines during license renewal.  If a station has not aired the minimum number of hours, other efforts can be documented that may be considered by license renewal staffers in determining whether to refer a station’s license renewal to the full Commission for review.

Commercial limits compliance is also an ongoing requirement, but is documented once annually by stations and uploaded to the station online public file.  Stations should conduct detailed reviews of their compliance for the year before uploading documents in support.  The FCC’s rules require that stations limit the amount of “commercial matter” appearing in programs aimed at children 12 years old and younger to 12 minutes per clock hour on weekdays and 10.5 minutes per clock hour on the weekend.  The definition of commercial matter includes not only commercial spots, but also (i) website addresses displayed during children’s programming and promotional material, unless they comply with a four-part test, (ii) websites that are considered “host-selling” under the Commission’s rules, and (iii) program promos, unless they promote (a) children’s educational/informational programming, or (b) other age-appropriate programming appearing on the same channel.

During the 3-year television license renewal cycle that will end in the summer of 2023, we have assisted numerous stations with children’s television issues that arose during renewal application filing and processing.  The staff closely scrutinizes every report and program for any anomalies.  In some cases, renewals were held up for a full year before resolutions could be reached.  Stations should devote adequate resources and personnel to ensuring that all children’s television requirements are met, and reports are filed and uploads are made on time.