New rules adopted by the FCC require that when television stations in the U.S. display emergency information visually during non-news programming, they must provide the same information aurally on a secondary audio stream. The new rules do not change the requirement that emergency information provided visually during newscasts be conveyed aurally on primary audio.


The Federal Communications Commission published a reminder to service providers and equipment manufacturers that provide advanced communications services — such as e-mail, instant messaging, Voice over Internet Protocol, and interoperable video conferencing services — or telecommunications services that are subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act to begin maintaining records by January 30, 2013 of the efforts they take to make their services and equipment accessible.
Continue Reading Recordkeeping Reminder for Service Providers and Equipment Manufacturers Offering Advanced Communications Services and Telecommunications Services

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently proposed requiring that when broadcast television stations or cable/satellite companies display emergency information visually during non-news programming, they must provide the same information aurally on a “secondary” audio stream.  When viewers tune to a channel, they ordinarily hear the primary audio stream; the secondary audio stream can be used to provide alternative audio, such as emergency information, translations of the programming into Spanish or other languages, or video description (meaning audio description of the actions taking place on screen).
Continue Reading FCC Proposes Requiring Emergency Information On Secondary Audio Stream

On Friday, the FCC’s Media Bureau issued a decision that extends until January 1, 2014 the deadline for all online video programming distributors (“VPDs”) to implement user controls in connection with their delivery of Internet Protocol closed captioning.   Prior to this decision, VPDs that provide applications or plug-ins in order to deliver video programming had until September 30, 2012 to add the next-generation closed captioning capability, which offers users an array of control features.  In the same decision, the Media Bureau refused a request to extend the September 30, 2012 deadline for VPDs to be able to render basic online captioning.
Continue Reading FCC Extends Online Closed Captioning User Control Mandate Until January 2014