The FCC has officially approved requests from CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and ESPN to be exempt from audio description rules that are required of top national non-broadcast networks, based on the amount of non-live linear programming the networks offer per calendar quarter. However, there is an exception available for networks that don’t air at least 50 hours per quarter of primetime programming that is not live or near-live.
The FCC has adopted an order to expand access of broadcast TV programming to blind or visually impaired. In April, the FCC voted unanimously — and unopposed by industry, said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai — to propose to require 40 more TV markets (DMAs 61-100) to provide audio descriptions of video programming but also wants to know if the current pandemic changes any part of the equation.
At Tuesday’s public meeting Tuesday (Oct. 27), the commission made that expansion official.
After a series of FCC meetings where the only mention of broadcasters was in connection with taking TV spectrum for wireless broadband, the tentative agenda for the next FCC meeting, to be held on March 3, is full of broadcast issues — issues that could have broadcasters wishing that they were ignored once more.