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FCC Prompts Broadcasters on Closed-Captioning Quotas

The Federal Communications Commission Tuesday reminded TV broadcasters and cable operators that as of Jan. 1, they were required to close-caption at least 1,350 hours of new English-language programming per quarter, or all of their nonexempt English-language programming, whichever is less.

The new benchmark is the last before all nonexempt English-language programming must be captioned beginning Jan. 1, 2006.

Spanish-language broadcasters now must caption at least 900 hours per quarter, stepping up to 1,350 hours of programming beginning Jan. 1, 2007, and 100% in January 2010. Exemptions include most shows between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.; locally produced and distributed parades and school sports with no repeat value, commercials less than five minutes long; and programs in languages other than English or Spanish.