" E/I Television "

I have always wondered this, and recently it’s come to a head.

What exactly is the E/I designation on some children’s programing? Educational Informational is my guess, but that doesn’t get to my real question.

I don’t have cable, and have been watching nearly all of my tv in the past half a year through my DTV OTA converter box. As I pull in nearly 40 channels, it is not as bad as you would think.

I have a 24 hour radar channel. [NBC’s Weather Plus / Weather Connection] Yet on Saturday mornings, it breaks away from the loop and shows " E/I " programming. Same for “The Atlanta Channel” which breaks away from its Tourism information and 1990’s era pieces on famous Atlanta landmarks. It too airs " E/I " Programming. There is a channel that airs nothing but infomercials. [If I never see the back joy core, Xpress redi set go, contour ab belt, a food processor, or fitness plan dvds, it will be too soon.] They too had E/I programing.

Is there some legal obligation to air " E/I " programing ? Is there some obligation in terms of quality? That is, in content, and production value.**

Some of the stuff that was offered as E/I was either insulting to a child’s intelligence [Zebby’s Zoo] or waaay over their head [Did you ever Wonder?]

Wiki article:

That appears to say that over-the-air networks have to show at least 3 hours of E/I programming a week. Unfortunately, it isn’t sourced.

As stated, there is basically a requirement for networks to run a certain amount of educational/information programming a week. (Of course, what constitutes E/I programming is apparently up to the station itself- ABC puts the bug on all of their Saturday Morning, despite the fact I really don’t see what educational value, if any, there is in, say, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.) This requirement went into effect in the late 1990s- on the DVD of The Weird Al Show, there are some wonderful commentaries with “Weird Al” Yankovic and the show staffers on the problems they faced with the network and how difficult it was for them to put the mandatory moral lesson into each episode while still making it funny.