More Wasteland Than Promised Land, But Educational TV for Kids Survives Neglect

Improving educational television opportunities for children
    • October 31, 2000

Starting in January 1997, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, PhD at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, conducted research on educational television programming for children and developed a pilot program based on that research.

The project was launched in the wake of a 1996 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling that commercial broadcast stations must air at least three hours a week of children's educational programming.

Key Findings

The Annenberg Public Policy Center produced five reports summarizing its research on children and television.

  • Newspapers provide little coverage of educational children's television.
  • FCC requirements have had little effect on parents' awareness of educational programming.
  • Children will not automatically reject a program because it is educational.
  • Audiences for educational programs are not disproportionately undercounted.
  • Parents may reward advertisers on educational programs by purchasing their products.
  • Financial and other barriers pose challenges to independent producers of educational programming.

Key Results

  • Annenberg Public Policy Center produced a resource guide to educational programming, Teaching Through Television.

  • Annenberg Public Policy Center published Covering Kids'® TV: A Resource Guide for Journalists.

  • Unapix produced a pilot program for a children's educational series entitled Young Heroes. By mid-2000, the proposed series had yet to find a buyer.