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Kids TV Rules OKd by FCC

Digital broadcasters will be required to air as many as 15 hours a week of educational shows.

September 10, 2004|Jube Shiver Jr. | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously Thursday to approve rules requiring digital television broadcasters to air as many as 15 hours of educational shows for kids each week.

The 5-0 vote came after children's activist groups lobbied to hold TV station owners more accountable as broadcasters transition to new digital television technology, which offers sharp multichannel video and compact-disc-quality sound.

The FCC also barred station owners from inserting on-screen promotional links to commercial websites.

More than 1,000 local TV stations that are members of the National Assn. of Broadcasters had opposed the new rules. The trade group argued that it was premature to impose such requirements during the early stages of U.S. conversion to digital TV.

Also on Thursday, the FCC gave tentative approval to a proposal to sell airwaves worth as much as $4.75 billion to mobile phone companies.

The move could trigger a battle over potential airwave interference that would pit some of the nation's biggest mobile phone providers against rival Nextel Communications Inc. The Reston, Va.-based company this year agreed to swap its current airwaves for spectrum adjacent to the frequencies the FCC wants to sell.

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