FCC To Ramp Up Closed Captioning Enforcement

Attention broadcasters, the FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau plans to ramp up enforcement of its closed captioning rules.

At a press briefing with reporters Tuesday (May 11), Karen Peltz Strauss, deputy chief of the consumer and governmental affairs bureau, said that the bureau has its eye on the number of closed-captioning complaints that have been coming in since the DTV switch. "A lot of problems have been created by the transition," she said.

She pointed out that the FCC recently put out a reminder of their requirement to file contact information for closed captioning complaints with the commission."  She said a second notice will be coming out, likely by later this week, advising consumers of how to access that information so they can contact the stations directly.

The FCC said in a notice April 27 that despite a March 22 deadline for submitting that contact information, "many stations" have still not submitted it.

Since the FCC changed its rules to allow complaints to be filed directly to the FCC, Strauss says the bureau has seen a "significant" increase in the amount of closed captioning. "We are going to be stepping up enforcement in that area," she said.

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.