About this time each year, as hurricane season ramps up, the FCC issues a notice reminding television broadcasters and other video providers of their obligations to make accessible emergency information to all of the populations which may be using their services – especially if parts of the audience cannot see or hear the emergency information that the service is transmitting. The FCC this week released that notice for this year, with a couple of new wrinkles.
The commission wants opinions on whether to extend the deadline for TV stations to convert nontextual emergency information into audio on station SAP channels.
The trade group releases statistics on the importance of broadcasting to Americans in times of emergencies. And NAB CTO Sam Matheny goes before the House Communications Subcommittee to spell out the many advances ATSC 3.0 will give stations in keeping the public informed in times of crisis. He urges them to make sure stations have the time and resources to complete the mandated spectrum repack.
The FCC released an order last week giving TV stations an additional 18 months to comply with a requirement that emergency information conveyed to the TV audience during non-news programming in a visual or graphical manner (e.g., on-screen weather maps during entertainment programming) be converted to audio that is broadcast on the TV station’s SAP channel.
The inaugural Smart Spectrum Summit demonstrated to the public safety community how adoption of the ATSC 3.0 next-gen TV transmission standard will also give them a reliable, robust wireless communications service that can sidestep current wireless network congestion to deliver potentially lifesaving information.