WASHINGTON - July 21 - According to its Web site, the teen-targeted TV show NFL Under the Helmet, which airs on Fox affiliates across the country, is where football and pop culture collide. Co-host Rebecca Grant recently told Maxim magazine why she likes hosting the show: I heard Under the Helmet was looking for someone hip and not too prissy to hang with the guysand thats exactly what Im all about.
But a new analysis prepared for tonights public hearing on broadcast localism before the Federal Communications Commission in Monterey, Calif., found that local Fox-affiliate KCBA-TV counts NFL Under the Helmet as part of its requirement to air three hours per week of educational/informational programming for children. In its Childrens Television Report filing to the federal agency, KCBA said the no-holds barred show showcases the pro-social on and off the field activities of the NFLs leading players and coaches.
Alongside its questionable characterization of NFL Under The Helmet, the analysis by Children Now and the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University found the station still fell short of the three-hour minimum for childrens educational programming. Among the three other high-powered stations in the Monterey-Salinas market, one station, Univision affiliate KSMS-TV, also failed to meet the three-hour rule, and KION-TV (CBS) and KSBW-TV (NBC) just barely met the minimum requirement.
Children need to have access to a variety of programming that is specific to their educational needs, and local broadcasters clearly are not meeting their public-interest obligations to children, said Patti Miller, director of Children Nows Children & the Media program. Miller will present some of the findings at the hearing.
The preliminary analysis of the stations reports to the FCC found there are no locally-produced E/I programs in the market that are specific to the needs and interests of a diverse community, where more than half of all children are Latino. The one high-powered Spanish-language station, KSMS-TV (Univision), offers just two E/I programs. The analysis also found that all 20 programs that broadcasters claim as core educational programming either originate from networks or are syndicated.
The research, which examined the last quarter of 2003, also found that one-fifth of childrens educational programming on KSBW-TV (NBC) was preempted by sports programming. Among all four channels, E/I programs were not scheduled at times when children were most likely to be watching. The hearing begins at 6:00 pm at the Steinbeck Forum, Third Floor, One Portola Plaza, Monterey, Calif.