FCC Seeks Expansion of Audio Description Requirements to All Broadcast Markets

The FCC is proposing to expand its audio description requirements to all Nielsen Designated Market Areas (DMAs) in the United States. Currently, the rules apply only to television stations in the top 90 DMAs (or top 100 DMAs by January 1, 2024).

The FCC wants to phase in an additional 10 DMAs per year until audio description services are available in all 210 DMAs. The phase-in process would take until January 1, 2035. The FCC is requesting comments on the proposal, including on the costs, benefits, and proposed timing of the expansion. Comments are due by April 28, 2023, and reply comments by May 15, 2023.

Audio description makes television programming more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Stations that use audio description technology insert audio narratives of a program’s key visual elements during pauses in the program’s dialogue.

If you would like more information about the FCC’s audio description regulations, or accessibility compliance in general, please contact an attorney in our Media practice group.

Categories: Media