Parts of Children’s Television Rule Changes Become Effective September 16

Posted on August 30th, 2019 by

Remember those children’s television rule changes that the FCC adopted back in July? If not, they can be found in this order, with the new rule at 51-53. Some of the most important changes will go into effect September 16th. Other parts that involve changes in forms will take a bit longer.

But let’s review what changes on September 16th, since that’s the purpose of this article anyway. That’s the day that the requirement for stations to air 3 hours of children’s educational programming on their 24/7 multicast channels will expire. [Cue background applause] But wait, there’s more. Back on your main channel, September 16 is the day you can start counting children’s educational programming from as early as 6 a.m. toward your 3 hours per week obligation, or help your main channel meet its obligation by shifting up to an hour of that programming to a multicast channel.

We can see you holding your breath for word that you won’t have to file a 3rd quarter Form 398 by October 10th. Go ahead and exhale – you’re in no such luck. The rule change for filing that form on an annual instead of quarterly basis is a change in information submission, so that part has a few more hoops to jump through before it will become effective. So, stations should still prepare and file the 3rd quarter report by the October 10 deadline. We know you’re disappointed. That’s ok. Of course, if you ceased airing children’s programming on your multicast channels as of September 16, the number of hours aired will need to be recalculated and accurately reported on the 3rd quarter report (yes, you’ll need a calculator).