Stations in the top 25 markets will be required by the FCC to close caption 100 percent of new, non-exempt English language programming starting Jan. 1, 2006.
ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX affiliates in those markets must provide real-time closed captioning of their local newscasts to be in compliance with the regulation. Non-network affiliate stations in the top 25 markets and all stations outside those markets can continue to use ENT for closed captioning after the deadline. ENT refers to a method of automatic closed caption generation based on the script fed to teleprompters.
The FCC has launched a rulemaking procedure to determine whether current closed captioning requirements should be updated. Earlier this month, the RTNDA filed comments with the commission discussing the burden real-time captioning places on local news budgets and asking the commission to clarify aspects of existing rules requiring stations to present emergency information given in the aural portion of a news alert.