Exhibit: Women Who Dared
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Peggy Charren
Children's Television Advocate

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What Else She Said

A major goal [of ACT] was to get a rule passed, which actually turned into the idea that we need a law, because you couldn't get the broadcasters to do anything unless there was a law, to encourage choice as part of their license mandate, which turned into the Children's Television Act of 1990, which had to be revised a couple of times so that broadcasters paid even lip service to it... So that's one place where we worked on solutions.

Secondly, we discovered along the way that children's television was incredibly commercialized, twice as much as adults'... So we sat with a stopwatch and discovered that, lo and behold, children's television had 16 minutes of ads an hour and adults had 9 and a half!

That made a very good press story because it's so preposterous. You don't have to be a child advocate to think that's terrible. So we worked on that and we did get a reduction in the amount of advertising...

The other thing is that kids were the first ones to get what some in the press called 'program-length commercials.' In fact, the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission used that lingo to describe what all those toy-based programs were.

Hasbro was involved in the producing of certain programs based on Hasbro toys, so you had what were really commercials, disguised as adventure. So we worked on that. We never really solved that problem to my satisfaction. On the other hand, we reduced the number of programs that fell under that category significantly...

A third solution is support for public broadcasting. Because what was particularly important is that you needed the alternatives, and PBS stations cared enough about young audiences to provide the very best for them... I don't care how much junk there is or how much nauseating content there is, or even how much horrifying content there is, as long as there's a significant number of alternatives so you don't have to pay attention to the bad stuff. Public broadcasting was where the alternatives were, so we focused on the need for money for PBS...

Children's television has changed tremendously since I started ACT, and most of those changes had nothing to do with me. They're the result of technological change: home video, cable. And it helped that we were making noise about the needs of children. And making a lot of noise because we learned how to get press to cover our issues.


How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Peggy Charren on IMPACT ON WORLD." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Peggy Charren on IMPACT ON WORLD," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.