FCC: Online Filing Of Closed Captioning Documents Begins April 30

In a public notice issued this week, the FCC reminds TV stations, cable operators and program producers that online filing of requests for waivers of or oppositions to its TV closed captioning requirements begins April 30.

Before that date, the filings must be on paper. After that date, they must be filed electronically (e-mailed to captioningexemption@fcc.gov).

The FCC voted unanimously Feb. 20 to require program creators and distributors to make their best efforts to improve the quality of closed captioning.

While there were no quantitative standards, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said this was not an "act it and forget it" item.

But the FCC's closed captioning rules also include an exemption for those for whom compliance would be an economic burden.

All petitions for exemption, paper or online, must address the following four factors, the FCC says:

"The nature and cost of the closed captions for the programming;

"The impact on the operation of the provider or program owner;

"The financial resources of the provider or program owner; and

"The type of operations of the provider or program owner."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.