FCC reminds stations of obligatory emergency closed-captioning

Last week, the FCC released a public notice reminding TV broadcasters of their obligation to provide closed-captioning emergency information for viewers with hearing disabilities.

The commission noted that program distributors are not permitted to count captions using electronic newsroom technique (ENT) and are now required to provide closed-captioning for all new non-exempt programming, including breaking news and emergency alerts.

The commission said that it recognized that emergency information was the type of information that was typically not available in advance. There may be times, it conceded, when it will be difficult for a video program distributor to present 100 percent of its new non-exempt programming with captions.

The commission offered six examples of steps broadcasters could take to comply with the rules, including more staff training and developing an emergency visual presentation policy for all employees.

For more information about the closed-captioning and access to emergency information rules, and related fact sheets summarizing these rules, visit www.fcc.gov/cgb, www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/closedcaption.htm and www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/emergencyvideo.html.