In 1898 Guglielmo Marconi, a 24-year-old Italian, began the world’s first commercial radio service. For citizens of the United States, radio—and later television—not only introduced an abundance of entertainment and information, it also raised many legal questions surrounding its implementation and regulation. In radio’s earliest days, stations all broadcast at the same frequency; this situation posed problems because although some stations agreed to share their time, others attempted to broadcast stronger signals over those of their competitors. In 1927, the Radio Act (47 U.S.C.A § 81 et seq.) became law and the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) was created to police the broadcasting industry. Two important tenets of broadcasting were introduced by the law. The first was that stations must broadcast "in the public interest, convenience, or necessity." The second was that the people, not the radio stations, owned the airwaves. In its efforts to see that the airwaves were used in the appropriate manner, government regulation faced obstacles as it attempted to ensure suitable government-funded programming, appropriate programming for children, and equal access to broadcasting for minorities.
Since the inception of broadcast programming, education has always been considered an important aspect of it. The Children’s Television Act (47 U.S.C.A. § 303a et seq.) was enacted in 1990 in an effort to put more educational programming on television. The response of broadcasters has been sluggish, prompting a harsh hearing before Congress in 1993. Despite this legislation, some maintain that next to nothing has been done to remedy the quality of children’s television, which House Telecommunications Subcommittee chairman Edward J. Markey (D-MA) referred to as "the video equivalent of a Twinkie."
Congress overhauled the telecommunications industry in 1996 with the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-104, 110 Stat. 56 (47 U.S.C.A. §§151 et seq.). This statute made a number of major changes to laws governing the telecommunications industry. Among these were deregulatory measures, including provisions allowing local phone companies, long-distance companies, and cable companies to compete over the same services. Another provision requires television manufacturers to include circuitry that allows parents to screen out programming they do not wish their children to view, such as programs featuring violence.
The International Children’s Day of Broadcasting was launched by UNICEF in 1991 in order to encourage broadcasters worldwide to create awareness for children issues. ICDB, celebrated for sixteen years on the first Sunday in December, was a day when broadcasters around the world "Tuned in to Kids". Broadcasters would air quality programming for and about children. Over the years, children’s participation became a keystone of the ICDB. Broadcasters began to allow children to be part of the programming process, to talk about their hopes and dreams and share information with their peers.
Every year, thousands of broadcasters in more than a hundred countries took part in the day, celebrating it in ways that were as unique and special as children themselves. In 2009, the celebration moved to the first Sunday in March.
In 1994, UNICEF joined with the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to award the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting Award. The Award was given to a television broadcaster whose ICDB programming best embodied the mission of the day. In 2008, UNICEF began to award its own ICDB Awards, which honored both television and radio.
Television and radio play a vital role in raising awareness of global issues. Television and radio also play a tremendous and very critical role in shaping children’s lives. UNICEF urges broadcasters to advance overall child development in their countries by producing documentaries that detail the plight of children, dramas that help break down gender stereotypes and reduce discrimination and animation that both teaches and entertains. Television and radio can become meaningful, positive media experiences for children and young people.
Source: unicef.org | encyclopedia.com
In 2023 International Children’s Day of Broadcasting in USA falls on March 5.