TV Closed Captioning Rule Changes

Posted on March 31st, 2014 by

TV stations will take on even more responsibilities related to the closed captioning of programming, pursuant to an order adopted by the FCC in the past few weeks.

Starting on April 28, 2014, TV stations “must take all steps to monitor and maintain their equipment and signal transmissions associated with the transmission and distribution of closed captioning to ensure that the captioning included with video programming reaches the consumer intact.”

Starting January 15, 2015 (unless OMB approval hasn’t been obtained yet), TV stations must begin to “maintain records” of those monitoring and maintenance activities, which must include at least “information about the station’s monitoring and maintenance of equipment and signal transmissions to ensure the pass through and delivery of closed captioning to viewers, and technical equipment checks and other activities to ensure that captioning equipment and other related equipment are maintained in good working order.”  On that same date, TV stations will also have to begin reviewing posted certifications from programmers related to the captioning or exemption of those programs, and if not available, reporting those programmers to the FCC.

Other rules related to the quality of captioning using Electronic Newsroom Techniques will take effect June 30, 2014.

The FCC’s recent action also confirmed the application of its $3 million per channel annual revenue exemption on a per-channel basis for stations that are multicasting, but has separately taken up that exemption and others to consider whether they are still needed.