Now that the first TV season has started under a new federal rule requiring stations to air more educational shows for children, public-interest groups are encouraging parents to let regulators and their local stations know if it works.
Printed materials on the rule and how to contact networks, stations, and regulators are being distributed to the National Parent Teacher Association's 6.5 million members and 2.3 million subscribers to the National Education Association's monthly newsletter.
And the Center for Media Education, which fought along with the PTA and the NEA for the new rule, has similar materials on its Web site (www.tap.epn.org/cme). It describes what each TV network is doing to meet the new rule, which took effect Sept. 1 and requires broadcasters to air three hours of educational children's shows a week.
Soon, the center plans to add a feature to its site allowing viewers to electronically send report cards on their stations' educational TV lineups and complaints to the Federal Communications Commission.
"We want our members to write to stations and TV producers to support programs they think are great," says PTA President Lois Jean White. "But most important, we want them to communicate with those stations they feel are not adequately meeting the rules."