FCC will require online broadcast programming to be captioned within 12 hours

Broadcasting & Cable posted an article on March 9 about the leeway that live programmers will have with online captioning requirements when the FCC launches new regulations on July 1. The new regulations will require all time-sensitive, IP-delivered video clips to be captioned.

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NCRA represented at FCC subcommittee meeting

Adam Finkel, NCRA’s Director of Government Relations, represented the Association on Feb. 23, at a meeting of the Video Programming Subcommittee, which operates under the auspices of the Federal Communications Commission’s Disability Advisory Committee (DAC). NCRA is one of 23 other parties representing a number of companies, nonprofit organizations, and individual consumers on the subcommittee.

According to Finkel, the Video Programming Subcommittee, established in December 2014, is charged with addressing televised emergency information, closed captioning, video description, and equipment designed to receive, play back, or record video programming.

“NCRA is a vital stakeholder in the work of this subcommittee given the large number of our members who provide captioning and CART services to people who are deaf and hard of hearing,” Finkel said. “Involvement in this subcommittee guarantees that NCRA’s members’ collective voices will be heard when the FCC is considering proposals regarding captioning,” he added.

The DAC was established to provide advice and recommendations to the FCC on a wide array of disability issues within its jurisdiction. “As television continues to evolve away from traditional mediums to different online services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, NCRA will work to ensure that these services will be captioned, and if the program is distributed live, captioning will be done by a qualified realtime captioner,” said Finkel.

According to the FCC, the DAC will provide a means for stakeholders with interests in accessibility issues to exchange ideas, facilitate the participation of consumers with disabilities in proceedings before the FCC, and assist the FCC in educating the greater disability community and ADA-covered entities on disability-related matters. The Committee is expected to keep the FCC apprised of current and evolving communications issues for persons with disabilities. Other subcommittees include Communications, Emergency Communications, and Relay/Equipment Distribution.

FCC divides closed captioning compliance responsibility

On Feb. 18, Davis Wright Tremaine, a legal services firm based in Seattle, Wash., commented on where the responsibility lies for the FCC’s closed captioning compliance.

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FCC upholds denial of San Antonio church’s closed captioning exemption request

The Texas Association of Broadcasters reported on Feb. 8 that the Federal Communications Commission has upheld its denial of a San Antonio church’s exemption request from the commission’s closed captioning rules, citing that the organization had not provided sufficient justification for granting its request.

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Keeping up with FCC closed caption requirements

A guest blog posted on Nov. 19 by Broadcasting & Cable addresses the recent closed captioning requirements for broadcasters and cable operators issued by the Federal Communications Commission. Author Steve Homes, a senior video applications engineer at Tektronix, shares key steps in ensuring compliance with the criteria related to the new requirements.

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NCRA represents captioners at FCC meeting

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Carol Studenmund and Heather York on the FCC panel

On Nov. 10, the Federal Communications Commission hosted a roundtable on closed captioning of PEG programming. PEG stands for public, educational, and governmental television channels. Carol Studenmund, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, a broadcast captioner and president of LNS Captioning in Portland, Ore., was in attendance representing the interests of broadcast captioners, along with Heather York, vice president of marketing at VITAC.

The roundtable discussion focused on captioning standards and best practices for PEG providers, as well as the importance of both quality captioning and captioners. Participants also discussed creative strategies to get local captioning covered by larger government entities. Many PEG stations cover public content such as city council meetings and operate on a smaller scale. Educational content, however, also needs to be captioned to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Carol Studenmund and Mary Beth Henry from the Office of Community Technology for the City of Portland

“It was an honor to represent NCRA at the FCC to talk about captioning for local government programming,” said Studenmund. “Providing access to government at all levels is a vital service for our community. All people, regardless of disabilities, deserve to be able to participate in their government affairs. Captioning helps make that happen for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.”

The agenda for the roundtable is available on the FCC website.

NCRA, captioning vendors submit comments on FCC caption quality best practices

Photo by Greg Elin

On Sept. 3, NCRA and several captioning vendors submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission on three issues connected to the implementation of the caption quality best practices. The comments specifically addressed preparation materials, high quality audio signals, and captioning for prerecorded programming. The captioning vendors who signed the comments along with NCRA were: Alternative Captioning Services, Caption Colorado, CaptionMax, LNS Captioning, Media Captioning Services, Paradigm Reporting and Captioning, VITAC, and The Media Access Group at WGBH.

Read the comments

NCRA President responds to editorial calling closed captioning “often fiction”

NCRA President Sarah E. Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CBC, responded to an editorial that appeared June 20 on Ohio.com, and written by Akron Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer, which is critical of the quality of captioning provided by local television stations in the area. In her response, Nageotte notes the process involved in captioning, including the technology used and NCRA’s work with the FCC addressing issues surrounding quality captioning.

Read President Nageotte’s response.

Read the article.

NCRA and others call on FCC to address accuracy of captions

On June 8, NCRA was one of several organizations that jointly submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission that address the agency’s rules regarding appropriate methodology and metrics for assessing the accuracy of captions. The groups also reiterated their willingness to work with the Commission to help improve the quality of closed captions. The comments were submitted by the University of Colorado’s Clinical Legal Education Program on behalf of the group. NCRA was one of 10 organizations to sign the comments.

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NCRA petitions FCC on behalf of captioning providers

On Feb. 19, NCRA filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission requesting that the agency waive a best practice required in its current captioning rules that calls for a specific formula to be used to measure the accuracy of captions. NCRA filed the petition on behalf of Caption Max, the National Captioning Institute, VITAC, and WGBH, collectively known as Captioning Providers. NCRA and the Captioning Providers are requesting that the commission instead introduce a new best practice that would allow for individual captioning providers to develop and use their own formula when calculating captioning quality.

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