NBC Telemundo to Pay for Preempting Kids' Programming for Sports

(Bloomberg) -- Comcast Corp.’s NBC Telemundo agree to pay $495,000 in a consent degree with the Federal Communications Commission after some of its stations preempted required children’s programming for sports broadcasts.

Stations can preempt TV programming for kids but must reschedule it in order for it to be counted toward a mandatory three hours per week. Rescheduling didn’t happen in some instances, the FCC said in an order Monday.

NBC and Telemundo said in an emailed statement that they had “worked with the FCC to resolve all outstanding matters” and “look forward to continuing to provide the educational and informational programming that our young viewers deserve.”

The FCC said the consent decree included NBC Telemundo License LLC, Telemundo Las Vegas License LLC, Telemundo of Puerto Rico and Station Venture Operations, LP, which together hold licenses for 28 stations.

The FCC is considering rule changes backed by broadcasters such as letting stations shift children’s shows onto little-watched secondary digital channels, or abandoning the three-hour minimum altogether. The rules were set before the internet offered a proliferation of shows aimed at youths.

The consent decree shows the need for “important revisions,” Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, a member of the FCC’s Republican majority who is leading the review of kids’ TV rules, said in an emailed statement.

“The issues generating this item –- preemption for live, high-demand programming and overly burdensome reporting requirements -– are exactly those that justify the commission’s review,” O’Rielly said. “I am confident that we can revise our rules to provide necessary
and appropriate flexibility for local broadcasters while preserving and/or improving the experience of those watching children’s programming.”

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