Letter to the Chair of the Federal Communications Commission on the Children's Television Act of 1990
Dear Chairman Hundt:
The Children's Television Act of 1990 recognizes the power and value of television's influence on our nation's children. The Act sets forth a reasonable exchange—it requires commercial broadcasters to honor their public trust by offering programming that enhances children's learning. The dissemination of true educational programming across the public airwaves is a priceless gift to our children.
The American public had every reason to believe that when the Children's Television Act was signed into law, programming specifically designed to benefit children would become an important part of the choices on every broadcast channel. The American public has been disappointed, and American children have lost countless opportunities to learn and to be challenged intellectually.
I urge you again to review the purpose of the Children's Television Act and the broadcast programming our children are offered today. To paraphrase former FCC Commissioner Newton Minow, if we can't figure out how the public interest standard relates to children, the youngest of whom can't read or write, and all of whom are dependent in every way on adults, then we will never figure out the meaning of the public interest standard.
I believe the public interest should require broadcasters to air at least three hours per week, and preferably more, of quality children's programming at reasonable times of the day. The FCC and the broadcast industry have an unequaled opportunity to redefine how television can serve the public interest, especially with respect to our children. I urge you to do so.
NOTE: This letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on September 19.
William J. Clinton, Letter to the Chair of the Federal Communications Commission on the Children's Television Act of 1990 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/221933