Abernathy is minding the kids

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Federal Communications Commission member Kathleen Abernathy wants to make
it easier both for parents to find kid-friendly TV fare and to file complaints
against objectionable programming.

She is teaming up with the Consumer and Government
Affairs Bureau to create a "Parents Page" on the FCC Web site (www.fcc.gov
) to help educate parents about children's
television.

The page, which will be up and running in a couple of weeks, stemmed from
meetings with broadcasters about their educational-TV requirements.

It will provide information on those requirements, the V-chip and other
blocking technology, the ratings system, what indecency rules prohibit and how
to file an indecency complaint.

It will also link to information on family-friendly programming on any
station "willing to coordinate with us," she said.

Abernathy announced the initiative at the Cable Television Public Affairs
Association forum in Washington, D.C., where she praised her audience for their role
in giving viewers the tools to make informed programming choices.

When asked by a reporter whether she supported either the creation of a
broadcast family hour or family-friendly cable-programming tiers, as have been
suggested by commissioner Kevin Martin, she said she "had no problems" with a
family hour if the industry decided to create one and would even encourage it,
though she wasn't sure that the traditional model still fit.

She also said she liked the idea of family-friendly cable tiers, although she
wasn't sure how the economics would work.

In either case, she added, she did not plan to use the FCC's bully pulpit, as
Martin has, to pressure the industry.

Instead, Abernathy favors having family-friendly
programming available "virtually on demand" -- made possible by a multichannel
world -- and giving parents the tools to help their children find
it.

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