FCC puts closed captioning cases up for comment


Closed CaptionSmall producers of video programming used to be able to receive exemptions from closed captioning requirements by making a showing that such provision would cause an “undue burden.” Congress changed the standard to “economically burdensome.” The FCC is soliciting comment on waiver applications.

The two producers in a recent request for comment are Cedar Street Baptist Church of God and Crosswalk Chapel.

According to the FCC, “Exemptions may be granted, in whole or in part, for a channel of video programming, a category or type of video programming, an individual video service, a specific video program, or a video programming provider. A petition for an exemption must be supported by sufficient evidence to demonstrate that compliance with the closed captioning requirements would be economically burdensome (would result in a “significant difficulty or expense”).”

Here are the factors the Commission takes into consideration
* the nature and cost of the closed captions for the programming;
* the impact on the operation of the provider or program owner;
* the financial resources of the provider or program owner; and
* the type of operations of the provider or program owner.

Those seeking exemption must demonstrate their own financial wherewithal and make a showing that they have done their homework and thoroughly researched the cost involved in providing captioning. It must also demonstrate that it has sought additional sponsorships and other sources of revenue to cover captioning costs.

RBR-TVBR observation: In other words, it takes more than simply being a small shoestring operation to earn a closed captioning exemption – you have to work for it.