Video programmers are expected to provide closed captioning for the benefit of hearing impaired viewers. In the past the FCC has allowed very small producers to waive the requirement, but the wording of what constitutes an acceptable benchmark for getting the waiver has changed. The FCC just turned down requests from a number of programmers based on the old wording, and is seeking comment on allowing them using the new terminology.
First Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Arkansas has petitioned for a ruling, essentially volunteering to be a test case.
The old wording allowed producers to seek an exemption on the rather loose grounds that providing the captions would be an “undue burden.”
The new wording is more concrete: the waiver-seeker must show that the requirement would be “as undue economic burden.”
The FCC spelled out the commenting requirements: “Comments and oppositions are due within 30 days from the date of this public notice. The case identifier, CGB-CC-0303, must be placed on all filings. Comments and oppositions sent via e-mail to the Commission will be considered informal and are not part of the official record.”