FCC Reminds TV Broadcasters of New Audio Description Rules

FCC seal
(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON D.C.—The FCC’s Media Bureau has issued a reminder to TV broadcasters in DMAs 81 to 90 that new audio description rules will be phased in on January 1, 2023. 

The new rules are part of the 2020 Audio Description Order, which was adopted in October of 2020 and expanded the Commission’s audio description rules.

The FCC’s audio description rules require certain television broadcast stations and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) to provide audio description for a portion of the video programming they televise to consumers. The 2020 Audio Description Order expanded the availability of audio description by phasing the requirements in for an additional 10 designated market areas (DMAs) each year for four years, the FCC noted. 

As part of the phase-in process, the Commission’s audio description rules extended to DMAs 61 through 70 as of January 1, 2021, and to DMAs 71 through 80 on January 1, 2022. 

Those rules are now being extended to DMAs 81 to 90 on January 1, 2023, the FCC said. 

As set forth in the 2020 Audio Description Order, the expansion of the audio description rules applies to the relevant DMAs as determined by The Nielsen Company as of January 1, 2020, the FCC said.

That means the audio description rules will extend to the following DMAs ranked 81 to 90 on January 1, 2023:

  • Madison
  • Waco-Temple-Bryan
  • Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen
  • Paducah-Cape Girardeau-Harrisburg
  • Colorado Springs-Pueblo
  • Shreveport
  • Syracuse
  • Champaign and Springfield-Decatur
  • Savannah
  • Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City and Dubuque

 As part of the reminder, the FCC noted that broadcasters can request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format) by sending an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or calling the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice).

For general information about audio description, visit www.fcc.gov/audio-description, the FCC noted.  For further information regarding this proceeding, contact Diana Sokolow, Policy Division, Media Bureau, 202-418-2120.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.