Closed captioning a must on formerly exempt programs


The FCC has noted that by now, almost three hundred television programs formerly exempt from the need to provide closed captioning are now required to do so. It stems from a change in the definition of what it takes to procure an exemption, and the lack of an application for a waiver under the new definition.

The FCC said it had reversed a decision of its own Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau in denying an extension of previously existing closed captioning waivers.

The programmers were previously required to make a showing that providing the captions would be an “undue burden.”

The new terminology required them to make a more concrete demonstrate that the requirement would be “economically burdensome.”

The waivers for 298 programs were dismissed, but all of them were invited to apply again under the new rules. They had until 1/18/12 to do so, and if not, they had to begin captioning by 1/19/12.

A quick glance at the list of programs impacted shows that most if not all are religious in nature. The full list and the FCC’s order can be read here.