You wouldn’t know it from scanning your TV Guide, but the FCC mandates that local televisions stations air three hours a week of what is called E/I programming. The E/I stands for Educational and Informational programming. The E/I mandate stems from the Children’s Television Act of 1990. Congress figured that if broadcasters were using publicly owned airwaves for free, they had to give something back in the form of television that didn’t rot people’s brains.
Enactment of the mandate was a little bumpy at first. Some local stations tried to skirt the spirit of the law by passing off telecasts of The Flintstones and The Jetsons as educational programming that taught children about the past and the future of mankind. I’m almost willing to buy The Flintstones, because in parts of Sarah Palin’s Real America—The Flintstones is a documentary.
Things have improved in the last 15+ years, mainly because a lot of kids programming has moved off of local television on to the cable giants Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network. But local stations are still stuck trying to program three hours a week. An advocacy group called Children Now is still not happy with the state of local E/I programs. They have issued six criteria to help evaluate whether or not a program has, “a reasonable standard of educational quality”.
We here at Jobseekers of America, are willing to take it upon ourselves to review programming using this criteria– not just kids shows, but any show out there and we will endeavor to find its educational value. Stay tuned to this blog for further developments.