Since the 1960s, media critics have claimed that the boundaries between “programming” and “advertisements” have been eroded to the point where the line is blurred nearly as much as it was during the beginnings of the medium, when almost all individual television shows were sponsored entirely by a single corporation (the model which was carried over from old-time network radio). For much of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the FCC imposed a rule requiring networks that broadcast programming on Saturday morning and Sunday nights at 7 PM/6 PM Central to air bumpers (“We’ll return after these messages…”, “…now back to our programming” and variations thereof) to help younger audiences distinguish programs from advertisements. The only programs that were exempt from this rule were news shows and information shows relating to news (such as 60 Minutes). Conditions on children’s programming have relaxed to an extent since the period of the 1970s and 1980s.
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