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Stations Face Fines Over Alerts

Three San Diego TV stations face the first-ever fines levied by the Federal Communications Commission for failure to provide emergency alerts in formats accessible to the hearing-impaired. The FCC said more proposed fines are on the way.

The fines, totaling $65,000, were proposed by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau following complaints that the stations failed to provide visual alerts as required during wildfires that struck southern California in fall 2003.

“People with hearing disabilities have a right to the same timely emergency information as stations provide to their hearing audiences,” said FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

The stations may appeal the fines. KFMB-TV faces a proposed $25,000 sanction. Hit up for $20,000 each were KUSI and KGTV.

TV stations and cable operators are required to provide people with hearing disabilities the same access to emergency information as those with unimpaired hearing. The FCC allows alerts that rely on closed captioning, open captioning or other types of visual presentation including crawls and scrolls.