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Lawmaker: Too Many Ads on Kids TV

February 24, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Too many TV stations are exceeding federal rules that limit commercials on children’s programs, says a key lawmaker.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., author of the 1990 law that directed the Federal Communications Commission to create the restrictions, said Tuesday that about 28 percent of the 465 TV stations analyzed had broken the rules. The stations were not identified.

``It is time for the FCC to crack down on these renegades,″ Markey said. ``They give a black eye to their industry.″

Neither the National Association of Broadcasters nor the FCC had an immediate comment.

The FCC rules, which took effect in 1992, limit the amount of commercials that can run with children’s programs. They forbid a station from airing more than 10 1/2 minutes of commercials an hour during weekends and more than 12 minutes an hour on weekdays.

The FCC examines a station’s overall compliance with the ad limits when its license is up for renewal. The 465 stations analyzed had licenses up for renewal. Data for all 1,600 commercial TV stations was not available because renewals are staggered over a three-year-period.

The 465 stations analyzed either had been fined by the FCC, had received a letter of admonition or had been deemed by the FCC to have committed only a minor or isolated violation, Markey said.

Even when this last category is eliminated from the analysis, nearly 20 percent of the stations had violated the rules, Markey said.

Markey asked the FCC to look into ways to improve compliance. He also noted that the majority of the FCC’s fines fell into the $10,000-$20,000 range and asked whether that is sufficient to deter violations.

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