Children's Television
Online Filing System
User's Manual

Version 2.0
May 14, 2007

Introduction

Document Contents

This is the User's Manual for the Children's Television Online Filing System. It describes the process of filling out the electronic FCC Form 398 and filing it with the FCC. This document contains the following topics:

Version Capabilities

This is Version 2.0 of the Online Filing System which implements the March 2006 Edition of the FCC Form 398. The system is fully operational. All successful FCC 398 filings will be inserted into the official FCC Children's Television Database.

Related Documentation

For more information about Children's Television Programming requirements, visit the FCC Media Bureau's web page or the KidVid Top Level page at http://www.fcc.gov/kidvid.

An HTML version of the official instructions for the FCC 398 can be found at:

A PDF version of the FCC 398 report (not for editing) and instructions can be found at:

You can read a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) file containing helpful hints and workarounds for common problems, at:

Electronic Form Functions

The online FCC Form 398 filing system allows a user to do the following:

Electronic Form Introduction

The electronic FCC Form 398 should work on standards compilant browser supporting HTML version 3.2. The system has been tested and known to work under Microsoft Internet Explorer (Version 6 or later), Netscape (Version 7 or later), and Mozilla Firefox (Version 1.5 or later). The system requires that the user's browser supports JavaScript and that the JavaScript funtionality is enabled. (It is enabled by default unless the user takes specific action to block it.)

Quick Start

This section gives an example of using the online filing system.
  1. Start up.

    Use your browser to open the location of the top-level web page for the KidVid Filing System using the KidVid link.

  2. Get a blank 398.

    Click on the "KidVid Electronic Filing" link in the left column. This will retrieve a blank form from the FCC server and send it back to be displayed by your browser.

  3. Enter values.

    Enter the values into the form fields.

  4. Get some help.

    Get some help for Question 4 in the Analog Core Programming section by clicking on (the link associated with) the number 5. Your browser will display the official instructions and place you at the section describing Question 4. Use your browser's Back command to return to the form.

  5. Resize the form.

    Imagine that you have a few Analog Core Programs to report. Enter the number of Program Reports you wish to enter for that section and click the [Add] button. This will add space to provide information for that number of programs.

  6. Print the form.

    Press the [Report to Print] button to generate an FCC 398 Report that contains the data currently showing on the form. After this report is displayed in your browser, use your browser's menu to go to "File" then select "Print Preview", this will allow you to see the report broken up into different pages. From there you can select the "Print" command from the Preview screen.

  7. Prepare to save the data.

    Press the [Update Local Data] button to cause the current data values to be copied into your form so that the values can be saved to a local file using your browser's Save As command. For more information, see the Saving Data section.

  8. Save the form.

    Use your browser's Save As command to specify a folder/directory, a file name, and a file format of HTML.

  9. Check Data

    Press the 'Check Data' Button to run a validation check against the Form. Any errors will be shown at the top of the Form.

  10. File the FCC Form 398.

    Press the [File FCC 398] button to submit the form to the FCC server for insertion into the database. The processing script on the server returns information to your browser if the filing is accepted (including a confirmation number). If the submission is unsuccessful, error messages are returned to your browser.

Detailed Reference

This section contains detailed reference information about the use of the electronic FCC Form 398 including field data types and purpose of buttons. The topics are:

Filing the 398

The FCC Form 398 can be filed electronically by filling out the FCC Form 398 according to these instructions and then pressing the [File FCC 398] button. The [File FCC 398] button on the form sends the form data to a form processor on the FCC server.

If the Licensee is not required to submit any exhibits, an HTML page is constructed containing the outcome of the processing (including, for example, any error messages or that the filing was accepted). If the Licensee has answered 'No' to Question 7c or Question 11, the 'Exhibit Upload Page' will be presented to the Licensee. If an FCC Form 398 has already been filed for the specified call sign and quarter date, subsequent submissions are treated as revised filings that replace earlier filings in the Children's Television database.

Starting the System

The top-level web page for the online filing system can be found at: http://www.fcc.gov/kidvid, or by clicking on the KidVid link.

Click on the "KidVid Electronic Filing" link in the left column. This will retrieve a blank form from the FCC server and send it back to be displayed by your browser.

Form Versions

The form is intended to be used for the year 2007 and later. However, earlier quarters can also be filed on this form by answering the appropriate questions. Version 2.0 of the Online Filing System implement the March 2006 edition of FCC Form 398.

User Interface

The electronic FCC Form 398 is implemented using HTML (HyperText Markup Language) 3.2 constructs. The layout also uses HTML 3.0 TABLE tags. Data values are input using an HTML FORM with field types of TEXT, RADIO, TEXTAREA, and SELECT. The system also utilizes in browser JavaScript and (CSS) Cascading Sytle Sheets. If these constructs are unfamiliar to you, you may want to learn more about HTML and WWW browsers before filling out the FCC Form 398. However, this is not necessary to use the online filing system.

Hypertext links are available at each numbered question on the form. These links take the user to the appropriate location where the question is described in the official instructions. Links are also available within the descriptions of the form's buttons to take the user to the relevant section in the User's Manual where they are discussed.

Available Help

Users can select a link on the electronic form at a question for which they want the official instructions. This link will retrieve the HTML formatted instructions from the FCC server and display the section with the appropriate instructions. When finished, the user can invoke their browser's Back command to return to the form.

This User's Manual provides detailed help about the electronic FCC Form 398 and its usage. We recommend that all users read this manual prior to filling out the FCC Form 398. A link exists on the form itself to retrieve this document. Also, the descriptions for all of the buttons on the form contain links to the relevant location in the User's Manual. When finished, the user can invoke their browser's Back command to return to the form.

Printing the Form

The user can click on [Report to Print] at the bottom of the form. This will display in your browser a read-only, printable version of the form that shows all of your data. Then, use your browser's menu to go to "File" then select "Print Preview", this will allow you to see the report broken up into different pages. From there you can select the "Print" command from the Preview screen. Then, the user can close of the print preview screen, and use the browser's Back command to return to the version of the FCC Form 398 that they were using to enter/modify data.

Additionally, an accepted filing can be retrieved from the database in a printable format (without HTML FORM constructs). See FCC 398 Report.

Quarterly Reporting Periods

According to the rules, each commercial broadcast station is required to prepare an FCC Form 398 reflecting children's television programming for each of the four quarters of the year (ending March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31). On the electronic FCC Form 398, a 'drop down list' is provided for the Quarter and Year. These allow the user to select the appropriate Quarter and Year for which they are filing.

Multiple Answer Questions

The FCC Form 398 has questions (4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 13, 14) that allow multiple answers, one for each qualifying program. The electronic FCC 398 form enables all of the answers for each question to be consecutive. Each question provides a number of HTML tables, one per program. Following the last table for a question are buttons labeled [Add] empty Program Reports. The Licensee may enter the quantity of Program Reports which they need to provide information for and click the [Add] button. This action will provide tables to enter information for additional programs.

Each individual 'Program Report' section contains a 'Clear Program Data' and 'Delete Program' button (icon).
The 'Clear Program Data' button will clear and reset all values to blank or their default values. This action will also delete any Preemption Reports which have been added to the Program that is being cleared. The 'Delete Program' button will remove the Program and all of its associated Preemption Reports from the form. Any Programs below the deleted Program will move up the form and be renumbered accordingly.

These buttons do not submit the data for checking or for entry into the database - they only adjust the size of the FCC Form 398. A side-effect of this process is that the data gets copied locally (see the Saving Data section), which means you can save the current form at this point.

Note that no Program Report entry areas will appear until they are added by the user.

Saving Data

The system provides the ability for a user to save a partially completed form to a local disk. Then, the user can later restart a browser, read in the file, and continue filling in the form. Basically, you prepare the data locally, save the form using your browser's Save As command, and you restart it using the Open File command, however, there are some important issues to understand.

Since HTML is a markup language, the data values that you enter into HTML fields are not really in your form when you type them. In order to make sure that the FCC Form 398 contains the data that you have entered, you must send it to the FCC server (temporarily - it is not entered into the database) which will send back the same form, but with the data copied into it. To do this, use the [Update Local Data] button to copy the data values. Note that the [Add] and [Delete] buttons also "Update Local Data" after adjusting the number of tables. If you add/change any data values, you must press one of these buttons before invoking the Save As command. If not, the changes you have made since the last "Update Local Data" occurrence will not be saved to your local file. After pressing one of these buttons, the copied/updated data values become the defaults for your form when you press the [Reset] button.

Technically, the saving data process puts values in the VALUE attributes of the INPUT form objects when the FCC Form 398 is regenerated. This ensures that the values are in the HTML when the user saves the HTML document to a local file. Only then can a user invoke the browser's Save As command to save the file.

To use your browser's File/Save As command to save the form, select the appropriate folder and specify an appropriate name (e.g., kv2001q2.htm). For the file type or format, if given a choice by your browser, select a type of "HTML" or "Source" (depending on the term used by your operating system), particularly not "Text". Later, when you want to continue filling out the form, you can use your browser's File/Open File command to read in the file that you previously saved.
At this point, the text may not look well formatted, this may happen if your browser did not save the appropriate style sheet. Click the [Update Local Data] button and the form will appear normally.

Managing Files

The FCC Form 398 that is filled out in one quarter can be saved to reduce the effort needed to fill it out for the next quarter. First, read the section on Saving Data that explains the steps that are necessary to save the form to a local file. We recommend that you adopt a file naming convention so that the files containing the forms from different quarters are clearly identified. For example, you can store the files in a kidvid folder on your computer (or network) with names that identify the quarter ending date (such as kv03312001.htm) or the the quarter number (such as kv2001q1.htm).

Checking Data

When an FCC Form 398 is filed, all of the submitted data must pass value checking routines on the FCC server before the filing is entered into the database. A button on the form labeled [Check Data] allows the user to explicitly request data checking at any time. This allows the user to check their filing before submitting it to the FCC.

Data Types

The HTML FCC Form 398 contains fields with licensee data and also hidden fields to pass information/choices to the FCC server.

There are a number of types of data that the form will contain. From the HTML perspective, all of the input will be ASCII strings entered by the user. Most fields will use the HTML input type TEXT. The HTML attribute MAXLENGTH is used to limit the size of field data. The attribute SIZE has been adjusted to make the field look the best (and most like the printed form).

Fields that allow the user to enter multiple lines of text are implemented using the TEXTAREA HTML tag. The ROWS and COLS attributes have been adjusted to make the field look like the printed form.

Fields with two alternatives (such as, "Yes" or "No") are implemented using the HTML input type RADIO. The user must press one of the radio buttons to signify the choice.

Fields that require that the user choose one of a set of values are implemented using the SELECT HTML tag. These fields are usually formatted as a drop down menu by web browsers.

The fields that require one or more dates/times (such as the "Days/Times Program Regularly Scheduled" field) expect a string of characters. We have not attempted to require a particular format since there is a lot of variation in stations' schedules and in people's preferences for specifying them. For example, a program may be scheduled:

The specification of times is also subject to similar preferences with 12 or 24 hour clocks, "am", "A.M.", etc. There may also be programs that are scheduled more that once in a day. All of these possibilities make it difficult to invent a standard format that would be powerful enough to handle most cases yet easy enough to use for common situations. We still would like to attempt to make these data fields look somewhat similar across licensees' reports. Therefore, we are recommending a format but not requiring it. Note that the string values are not processed before being inserted into the database.

We have chosen that these fields be separated by commas (and optional whitespace) and formatted in one of two ways:

  1. A general day and time, with day range and a time as follows:
       <day range> HH:MM XM
    Days in the day range are represented by one or two upper case characters: (SU M T W TH F SA). The days can be concatenated together or a dash can signify a range. Examples of valid entries are "M 11:00", "M-F 14:30", "SASU 9:00", or even, if you insist, "Saturday at 10:00". You can pick your own favorite format for "AM", "p.m.", etc. after the hours and minutes.

    We have not recommended a format for easily specifying an occasional scheduled program, for instance, that is shown on: "the first Wednesday of each month". The licensee should determine the actual dates for the particular quarter and use the date/time format.

  2. A particular date and time, formatted as follows:
        MMDDYY HH:MM
    The first digit in the month designation is optional (that is, you can use "9" for September as well as "09"). The day designation requires both digits (such that you cannot use "111" for November first, but must use "1101".) The year designation is optional.

Note: These are only guidelines that are attempting to provide a semi-standard, easy way to specify scheduling information. No checking is performed on these strings. Since there is not an enforced standard, there are no informational reports from which a user could get information on programs, for example, that are shown on a particular day of the week. Local television guides or web sites with program schedules may be able to provide this kind of information that can not be retrieved from the stations' FCC Form 398 filings.

Field Names and Sizes

The following tables describe the FORM fields on the electronic FCC Form 398.

Licensee Information
Field Label HTML Type Max Length Other Info
Quarter SELECT N/A see Quarterly Reporting Periods section
Year SELECT N/A see Quarterly Reporting Periods section
Call Sign TEXT 7  
Analog Channel Number TEXT 2  
Digital Channel Number TEXT 2  
City TEXT 25  
State SELECT 2  
County TEXT 40  
ZIP Code TEXT 10 5 digits or ZIP+4
Licensee TEXT 100  
Network/Independent RADIO N/A choose one button
Network Affiliation TEXT 50 if applicable
Nielsen DMA SELECT N/A  
World Wide Web Home Page Address TEXT 70 if applicable
Facility ID Number TEXT 6 1-6 digit number
Previous Call Sign TEXT 4 on last 398, if applicable
License Renewal Expiration Date TEXT 10 format = mm/dd/yyyy

Analog Core Programming
Field Label HTML Type Max Length Other Info
Question 2. State the average number of hours of Core Programming... TEXT (5,2) 5 digits, with up to 2 digits after a decimal point
Question 3. Does the licensee identify... RADIO N/A choose Yes or No
Question 3b. Identify publishers... TEXTAREA none  
Title of Program TEXT 100  
Origination SELECT N/A Local, Network, or Syndicated
Days/Times Program Regularly Scheduled TEXT 100 see recommended format
Total times aired TEXT 3  
Number of Preemptions TEXT 3 defaults to 0
Length of Program TEXT 4  
Age of Target Child Audience TEXT, TEXT 2, 2 integer values for lower bound and upper bound of age range (years)
Describe the educational and informational objective... TEXTAREA none  
Does the Licensee identify... RADIO N/A choose Yes or No

Digital Core Programming
Field Label HTML Type Max Length Other Info
Question 7a. State the average number of hours of Core Programming... TEXT (5,2) 5 digits, with up to 2 digits after a decimal point
Question 7b. Did the Licensee broadcast on its main... RADIO N/A choose Yes or No
Question 7c. If 'Yes' to 7b... RADIO N/A choose Yes or No
Question 8a. State the average number of hours per week... TEXT (5,2) 5 digits, with up to 2 digits after a decimal point
Question 8b. State the average number of hours of Core Programming... TEXT (5,2) 5 digits, with up to 2 digits after a decimal point
Question 9a. Does the licensee provide information... RADIO N/A choose Yes or No
Question 9b. Identify publishers... TEXTAREA none  
Title of Program TEXT 100  
Origination SELECT N/A Local, Network, or Syndicated
Days/Times Program Regularly Scheduled TEXT 100 see recommended format
Total times aired TEXT 3  
Number of Preemptions SELECT    
Length of Program TEXT 4  
Age of Target Child Audience TEXT, TEXT 2, 2 values for lower bound and upper bound of age range (years)
Describe the educational and informational objective... TEXTAREA none  
Does the Licensee identify... RADIO N/A choose Yes or No

Preemption Report (Analog and Digital)
Field Label HTML Type Max Length Other Info
Title of Program none N/A Copied from Core Program section
Total Times Aired TEXT 4  
Number of Preemptions for other... none N/A Copied from Core Program section
Number of Preemptions Rescheduled TEXT 2  
Date Preempted/Episode TEXT 30  
If rescheduled, date and time rescheduled TEXT 30  
Is the rescheduled date the second home RADIO N/A choose Yes or No
If rescheduled, were promotional efforts made... RADIO N/A choose Yes or No
Reason for preemption RADIO N/A choose one button

Non-Core Programming (Analog and Digital)
Field Label HTML Type Max Length Other Info
Title of Program TEXT 100 if blank, any data in related fields is ignored
Origination SELECT N/A Local, Network, or Syndicated
Dates/Times Program Aired TEXT 100 see recommended format
Total times aired TEXT 3  
Number of Preemptions TEXT 2  
If preempted and rescheduled, list date and time aired TEXTAREA none separate by newlines
Length of Program TEXT 4  
Age of Target Child Audience TEXT, TEXT 2, 2 values for lower bound and upper bound of age range (years)
Describe the program TEXTAREA none  
Does the program have educating and informing children... RADIO N/A choose Yes or No
If Yes, does the licensee identify each program... RADIO N/A choose Yes or No
Does the licensee provide information.... RADIO N/A choose Yes or No

Other Matters (planned core programs)
Field Label HTML Type Max Length Other Info
Title of Program TEXT 100  
Origination SELECT N/A Local, Network, or Syndicated
Days/Times Program Regularly Scheduled TEXT 100 see recommended format
Total times to be aired TEXT 3  
Length of Program TEXT 4  
Age of Target Child Audience TEXT, TEXT 2, 2 values for lower bound and upper bound of age range (years)
Describe the educational and informational objective... TEXTAREA none  
Does the licensee publicize the existence... RADIO N/A choose Yes or No

Aired Sponsored Core Programs (Analog and Digital)
Field Label HTML Type Max Length Other Info
Title of Program TEXT 100  
Call Letters of Station Airing Sponsored Program TEXT 7  
Channel Number of Station Airing Sponsored Program TEXT 2  
Did Programming Increase? RADIO N/A choose Yes or No

Sponsored Core Programs (Analog and Digital)
Field Label HTML Type Max Length Other Info
Title of Program TEXT 100  
Origination SELECT N/A Local, Network, or Syndicated
Days/Times Program Regularly Scheduled TEXT 100 see recommended format
Total times aired TEXT 3  
Number of Preemptions TEXT 2  
If preempted and rescheduled, list date and time aired TEXTAREA none separate by newlines
Length of Program TEXT 4  
Age of Target Child Audience TEXT, TEXT 2, 2 values for lower bound and upper bound of age range (years)
Describe the educational and informational objective... TEXTAREA none  

Children's Programming Liaison and Comments
Field Label HTML Type Max Length Other Info
Name TEXT 60  
Telephone Number TEXT 25  
Address TEXT 60  
Internet Mail Address TEXT 60 if applicable
City TEXT 60  
State TEXT 2 standard 2 char abbrev
Zip Code TEXT 10 5+4 Zip Code Format
Include any other comments... TEXTAREA none  

Signature Block
Field Label HTML Type Max Length Other Info
Name of Licensee TEXT 60 person filling out form
Date TEXT 10 mm/dd/yyyy
Signature none N/A only for printed copy

Problems and Issues

Strange Characters when copying and pasting from Microsoft Word

We are aware of and are working to correct certain issues that are associated with copying and pasting text from a Microsoft Word Document. The situation arises when a user copies text which contains special formatting or extended set characters from a Word document and pastes them into fields in Form 398. These characters include 'smart quotes' and 'apostrophes'. When the user does a Save Local Data to the form, these will be replaced with a series of strange, graphic characters and/or question marks (?).
A workaround for this limitation is to make a text-only copy of the Word document. Open the Word document, select 'File' -> 'Save As...' and pick a file name for the copy. In the 'Save as type:' field, select 'Plain Text (*.txt)'. Finally, click the 'Save' button. You will be able to copy and paste from the new document into the Form 398 without any issues.
Another workaround is to manually replace all special characters immediately after pasting with their ordinary versions.

Internet Explorer 8 may be experiencing problems

We have had reports of users not being able to process their survey using IE 8. We recommend users use IE 7 or Firefox.


If you have any questions or encounter any problems or bugs, please contact Ron Graser, of the Video Services Division at 202-418-1600.