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Children's Programming Advisory

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Released: July 17, 2012

PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.
Internet:
http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554



TTY: 1-888-835-5322



DA 12-1143

July
17,
2012

Enforcement Advisory No. 2012-04




FCC ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY




ENFORCEMENT BUREAU REPORTS ON CABLE AND SATELLITE COMPLIANCE WITH

CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE CHILDREN’S TELEVISION

ACT AND ASSOCIATED PUBLIC FILE RULES

In this Enforcement Advisory, the Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) reports on its review of cable
and satellite compliance to ensure that programming targeted to children meets the requirements of the
Children’s Television Act of 1990 (CTA).1 Compliance with these requirements is important in light of
the significant role that television plays in the lives of American children.2 Although we found that cable
and satellite providers generally complied with the limits on commercial material during children’s
programming, several providers failed to update their public inspection files in a timely manner. With
that in mind, this Advisory reminds cable and satellite operators of their obligations associated with the
transmission of children’s programming.
In passing the CTA, Congress found that special safeguards are appropriate to protect children
from over-commercialization on television.3 To provide such safeguards, the CTA and the FCC’s rules
limit the amount of commercial matter in children’s programming and require the maintenance of records
documenting compliance. These rules, covering programming targeted to children ages 12 years old and
younger, apply to television broadcasters,4 cable operators,5 and direct broadcast satellite systems.6 In
particular, commercial matter transmitted during children’s programming must not exceed 10.5 minutes
per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays. Additionally, broadcasters, cable operators,
and satellite systems that air children’s programming must maintain records sufficient to verify their
compliance with the advertising restrictions and make such records available to the public.7

1 Children’s Television Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-437, 104 Stat. 996-1000, codified at 47 U.S.C. §§ 303a, 303b,
394 (Children’s Television Act of 1990).
2 See Children’s Television Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, Report and Order and Further Notice of
Proposed Rule Making, 19 FCC Rcd 22943, 22945, para. 3 (2004). See also U.S. General Accounting Office,
Children’s Television Act: FCC Could Improve Efforts to Oversee Enforcement and Provide Public Information 1
(July 14, 2011). The report reiterated the importance of the CTA and the associated rules.
3 See Children’s Television Act of 1990, supra note 1.
4 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.670, 73.3526(e)(11)(ii).
5 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.225, 76.1703.
6 See 47 C.F.R. § 25.701(e).
7 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.3526(e)(11)(ii), 76.1703, 25.701(e)(3). See also Policies and Rules Concerning Children’s
Television Programming,
Report and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 2111, 2113, para. 13 (1991), recons. granted in part, 6 FCC

Page 1of 4

As part of our regular activities to monitor compliance with children’s programming rules
applicable to cable and satellite operators, last year the Bureau initiated a review of children’s
programming on cable and satellite systems in communities across the country. Bureau field agents and
headquarters employees recorded and reviewed programming from several children’s programming
networks on numerous cable and satellite systems, focusing on programming aimed at children 12 and
under. The programming was analyzed for compliance with commercial limits as well as the prohibitions
on host selling,8 program-length commercials, and the display of commercial website Internet
addresses.9 Bureau field agents also inspected the public files of cable and satellite systems across the
country to assess compliance with relevant recordkeeping requirements.
The Bureau’s investigation and analysis found that cable and satellite compliance with the CTA
requirements was generally good. The Bureau’s review of children’s programming material revealed no
violations of the limits on commercial matter. In addition, our investigation and review of operators’
public files found that the vast majority maintained documents to sufficiently verify compliance with the
rules and made these files available to the public.
Despite widespread compliance, however, we found some apparent violations of the public file
requirements. Over one-third of the public file inspections revealed either missing or late-filed Children’s
Programming Reports. We remind cable and satellite operators that these reports must be placed in the
public inspection file within 10 days of the end of each quarter.10
To address these apparent violations of the Public File rules, we are releasing the following
Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) and Notices of Violation (NOVs) concurrent with this Enforcement
Advisory:
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-315210A1.html">CCO SOCAL I, LLC, Gilroy, California; Notice of Violation, EB-11-SF-0117
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-315207A1.html">Cebridge Acquisition, LP, Bryan, Texas; Notice of Violation, EB-11-HU-0053
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-315206A1.html">Charter Communications, Inc., Athens, Georgia; Notice of Violation, EB-11-AT-0087
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-315227A1.html">Charter Communications, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas; Notice of Violation, EB-11-DL-0061
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-315205A1.html">Comcast of Howard County, Inc., Elkridge, Maryland; Notice of Violation, EB-11-CF-0093
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-315228A1.html">Comcast of Illinois XI LLC, Mount Prospect, Illinois; Notice of Violation, EB-11-CG-0248
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-315229A1.html">Cox Communications Louisiana LLC, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Notice of Violation, EB-11-OR-
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-315229A1.html">0074
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-315209A1.html">DirecTV, Inc., El Segundo, California; Notice of Violation, EB-11-LA-0176
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-315208A1.html">DISH Network, LLC, Englewood, Colorado; Notice of Violation, EB-11-DV-0201
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2012/DA-12-1138A1.html">Time Warner Entertainment, Advance/Newhouse Partnership, Kansas City, Missouri; Notice of
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2012/DA-12-1138A1.html">Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, EB-11-KC-0058
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-315230A1.html">Verizon Florida LLC, Hillsborough County, Florida; Notice of Violation, EB-11-TP-0051
The NAL finds Time Warner Entertainment – Advance/Newhouse Partnership (Time Warner)
apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000) for violations of

Rcd 5093, 5098, para. 28 (1991); Implementation of Section 25 of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and
Competition Act of 1992
, Second Order on Reconsideration of First Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 5647, 5668,
para. 48 (2004) (2004 Second Order).
8 The Commission’s “host-selling policy” prohibits the use of program talent or other identifiable program character
to deliver commercials during or adjacent to children’s programming featuring that character.
9 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.225, 25.701(e).
10 See Policies and Rules Concerning Children’s Television Programming, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6
FCC Rcd 5093, 5097, para. 23 (1991) (1991 MO&O); 2004 Second Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 5668, para. 48. See also
47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4).

2

Sections 76.1703 and 76.1704 of the Commission’s rules.11 The Enforcement Bureau’s Kansas City field
agents inspected files at Time Warner’s offices on July 18, 2011. The files were missing required
children’s programming records for five quarters as well as proof of performance tests for 2008 and
2009.12
The ten NOVs listed above are being issued to the various cable and satellite companies for
failing to file their children's programming material in a timely manner. We caution these companies that
future violations could result in more severe sanctions, including monetary forfeitures.
We also take this opportunity to remind all cable and satellite operators of their ongoing
obligations under the CTA and the Commission’s rules. The Bureau will continue to monitor compliance
with these rules consistent with their importance in safeguarding children.13
In particular, we remind cable and satellite operators to maintain records sufficient to verify their
compliance with the advertising restrictions and to make such records available to the public.14 Cable and
satellite operators are specifically required to update these records in the system’s public file no later than
the tenth day of the quarter following the quarter in which the covered programming aired, and they must
keep the material in the public file for at least one year.15

Issued by: Chief, Enforcement Bureau
* * * *

Need More Information?

For additional information regarding this Enforcement Advisory,
please contact Guy Benson of the Enforcement Bureau at 202-418-2946 or at Guy.Benson@fcc.gov.
Media inquiries should be directed to Neil Grace at (202) 418-0506 or Neil.Grace@fcc.gov.
For additional information concerning the Children’s Television Act rules, please contact Kim
Matthews at (202) 418-2154 or at Kim.Matthews@fcc.gov.
To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print,
electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental
Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY). You may also contact the Enforcement

11 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.1703, 76.1704.
12 Pursuant to Section 76.601 of the Commission’s Rules (47 C.F.R. § 76.601), cable system operators must conduct
periodic tests to determine the extent to which their systems comply with technical standards. Section 76.1704 of
the Commission’s Rules states: “[T]he proof of performance tests required by § 76.601 shall be maintained on file
at the operator’s local business office for at least five years. The test data shall be made available for inspection by
the Commission or the local franchiser, upon request.” 47 C.F.R. § 76.1704.
13 See, e.g., Children’s Television Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, Report and Order and Further
Notice of Proposed Rule Making, 19 FCC Rcd 22943, 22945, para. 5 (2004); Children’s Television Obligations of
Digital Television Broadcasters
, Second Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order, 21 FCC Rcd
11065, 11066, para. 5 (2006). The Commission also monitors compliance by television broadcast licensees. See,
e.g., WSOC Television, Inc.
, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 25 FCC Rcd 6124 (2010); WCVB Hearst
Television, Inc.
, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 25 FCC Rcd 6128 (2010); Media General
Communications Holdings, LLC
, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 25 FCC Rcd 6132 (2010).
14 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.1703, 25.701(e)(3).
15 See 1991 MO&O, 6 FCC Rcd at 5097, para. 23; 2004 Second Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 5668, para. 48. The retention
period must be sufficient to cover the limitations specified in 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(6)(B). See also 47 C.F.R.
§ 1.80(b)(4) (forfeitures).

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Bureau on its TTY line at 202-418-1148 for further information about this Enforcement Advisory, or the
Media Bureau on its TTY line at (202) 418-0432 or 1 (888) 835-5322 for further information about the
Children’s Programming rules.
- FCC -

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