Exhibit: Women Who Dared
BiographiesMultimediaBy CityAbout WWD Jewish Gender Activism
Peggy Charren
Children's Television Advocate

View Biography View Bio

What Else She Said

So I did have children around the house and because they were watching television I watched what was on... And the networks were certainly not doing much. This was before technology gave you the options for choice. And I thought, 'There must be something we can do to get more wonderful stuff on television for kids.' It was sort of wall-to-wall monster cartoons, with an occasional 'Bugs Bunny' thrown in...

If the TV screen were a public library, it could cause a nervous breakdown from the lack of choice for kids in that library. You'd fire the librarian who thought that that was all there should be.

And so I got some friends over the house, people who were involved in various aspects of children's education, caring about children, and I said, 'What can we do to make some noise?... And ended up with four women, all of whom had worked but weren't working because they had young children... and it turned into a non-profit organization...

So I started ACT [Action for Children's Television] with a small, small staff, a few volunteers at the beginning, and looked for what buttons to push to get people to listen. And found the law - figuring the law was a good place to start - and found a law, without which you wouldn't be talking to me. And this was the Communications Act of 1934, which set up how radio worked in this country.

The radio stations had to be licensed to use a piece of the spectrum - and this was adapted to television so that I discovered, lo and behold, that every station had a license which required them, in return for a piece of the spectrum, to serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity. I didn't know what was convenient or necessary about television, but I figured public interest must mean choice. So from the very beginning, ACT was designed to provide more choices for children, and in the process, some delicious choices.

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