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FCC makes decision on 'kid vid' rules. Here's what that means for your child

The Federal Communications Commission just voted to ease the "kid vid" rules governing children's programming on television.

In this Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, file photo, a person with a smartphone enters the Federal Communications Commission building in Washington.
In this Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, file photo, a person with a smartphone enters the Federal Communications Commission building in Washington.
Carolyn Kaster, AP

SALT LAKE CITY — The Federal Communications Commission voted Wednesday to ease rules on governing children’s programming on television, according to Deadline.

What happened: The Republican-controlled FCC voted to update the “kid vid” restrictions, which were made nearly 30 years ago “ to ensure that educational programs would be widely available to American families, including via broadcast networks whose signals do not require a pay-TV subscription,” according to Deadline.

  • Children’s programs can now air from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The start time is one hour earlier than in previous years, according to reports.
  • The new rules now allow up to 52 hours a year of educational specials or short-form programs, which can be counted as children’s programming.

What they’re saying: FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly argued broadcasters now have to compete with YouTube and Netflix — which are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year — for children’s programming.

In 2018, O'Reilly wrote in a blog post for the FCC that most modern children’s programming isn't seen on TV or traditional broadcast networks.

  • “Our family consumes a fair share of children-centric programming — whether its ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,’ ‘Peppa Pig’ or ‘Thomas the Tank Engine,’” O’Rielly wrote. “But none of these shows are aired on commercial broadcast stations. In fact, I can’t think of the last time, if ever, we turned to a local broadcast television station for children’s programming.”

Geoffrey Starks and Jessica Rosenworcel, the two Democrats on the FCC, released a statement that explained why they aren’t happy with the vote.

  • “The new rules will allow broadcasters to air less than one hour of regularly scheduled children’s programming per month on their most widely viewed primary stream. One third of a broadcaster’s annual hours can be moved to an unpopular multicast stream, and an additional third will not need to be regularly scheduled. What’s more, broadcasters are given the new ability to preempt children’s programming with an ill-defined category of live, locally produced programming not designed for children and still have that time count towards their core children’s programming hours. Taken together, broadcasters could theoretically reduce the amount of 30-minute, regularly scheduled programming airing on the primary stream to zero.”