UCC Challenges Two More TV Licenses


The United Church of Christ and the Georgetown Law Institute for Public Representation Wednesday challenged two more TV station licenses over their educational and informational kids TV programs, including the first-ever such challenge against a Spanish-language TV station over the issue.

The FCC requires TV stations to provide at least three hours a week of such programming as one of the costs of keeping their license.

UCC filed similar complaints against two D.C. stations last year, but the FCC has yet to act on them.

As far as UCC Managing Director Gloria Tristani knows, the four complaints are the only ones that have been filed against TV stations on the kids TV issue.

Wednesday's complaints were filed against two Cleveland TV stations--Univision's WQHS-TV and Raycom's WUAB-TV. Ohio station licenses are currently up for renewal, with the deadline to challenge them Sept. 1.

UCC says that WQHS's Complices Al Rescate (Accomplices to the Rescue), which it billed as FCC-friendly, is essentially a telenovela that sends a lot of negative messages about criminal behavior including music piracy, stealing, and "trying to drown the dog of a blind boy," says Tristani.

WUAB was cited for the animated show Sabrina.

Tristani quoted Robert Abelman, professor at Cleveland State University School of Communications, who reviewed the show: "The only cohesive or consistent theme across segments and episodes is that [Sabrina's] magic gets her in and out of trouble. This is hardly a pragmatic lesson for the audience and is most certainly not educational."

Tristani, herself a former FCC commissioner, also took the opportunity to chastise the commission: "The FCC needs to get serious about enforcing its children's TV rules and insure that the educational needs of all children, including spanish-speaking children, are met. It's been a year and the FCC has done nothing," she said.

At press time, officials from WUAB and Unvision (to whom WQHS deferred) had not responded to requests for comment.