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Gore: TV Needs More, Better Programs For Kids

March 5, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Children’s TV advocates say they’re encouraged that Vice President Gore is calling on the television industry to air more and better programs for children.

After meeting with Gore at the White House on Monday, Peggy Charren of Action for Children’s Television said that while she welcomed the industry’s pledge to rate shows for sex and violence by January 1997, Gore’s call goes a step further.

``Turning off the TV is one thing, but making sure there is something good to turn on is just as important for children,″ she said.

Gore told the children’s television advocates, ``We want there to be more and better programming for children.″

President Clinton supports making TV stations air at least three hours of educational shows for children weekly, a requirement the TV industry opposes.

Gore was joined by his wife, Tipper, and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The three hailed the TV industry’s ratings commitment, but they indicated more must be done.

They talked to representatives of nearly 80 organizations, including media watchdog, educational, medical, child and family and religious groups.

Gore said Clinton invited the top TV and entertainment executives to return to the White House once a ratings system is completed to talk about ways for them to improve children’s television.

The issue was discussed at last week’s White House meeting among Clinton, Gore and top TV and entertainment executives. While executives told reporters later that they were interested in improving the quality of programs, they still oppose a requirement to air prescribed amounts of kids shows.

``We have no confidence they’ll live up to improving children’s television as a result of the meetings,″ said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Media Education.

Chester’s group wants the Federal Communications Commission to adopt a three-hour-a-week educational program requirement. But the proposal has failed to win the support of a majority of the five commissioners.

His group doesn’t want Clinton to renominate FCC commissioners James Quello or Andrew Barrett, who don’t support such a quota on First Amendment grounds.

Quello’s term expires in June and he hasn’t ruled out another, said his senior aide, Lauren Belvin. Barrett’s expired last June and he does not want another term. ``I’m not interested in being renominated,″ he said in an interview Monday.

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