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FCC Chairman Pushes Ad Limits

By | October 25, 2004

      A consent decree issued last week by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Enforcement Bureau led FCC Chairman Michael Powell to draw attention to the responsibility of satellite-TV and cable-TV operators to limit the amount of commercial advertising they air on channels aimed at children.

      The Bureau conducts major investigations involving children’s programming rules derived from the Children’s Television Act of 1990. Those rules place strict limits on the amount of commercial matter that may be aired during children’s programming. The rules apply to Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) service providers, television broadcast stations and cable channels. Children, who are uniquely vulnerable as viewers, should not be exposed to excessive advertisements, Powell said.

      Routine audits conducted by Bureau field agents found serious questions regarding the number of commercials aired during children’s programs on the ABC Family Channel and on Nickelodeon. Both channels are hugely popular with children, and they are carried on virtually all cable and DBS systems nationwide, Powell explained. Cable operators, DBS providers, commercial television broadcasters, and companies that provide children’s programming should know that the FCC will vigorously enforce limits on advertising to children, Powell said, adding, “We will continue to take swift and appropriate enforcement action to protect the interests of children.”

      (David Fiske, FCC, 202/418-0513)

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