FCC Extends for 18 Months SAP Emergency Information Deadline

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP
www.broadcastlawblog.com

The FCC released an order on November 16 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.

We wrote about the FCC’s request for comments on the extension here. If the extension had not been granted, those requirements would have kicked in this week. But, as broadcast groups and those representing the visually impaired agreed that there was no available technology to make this conversion of graphics to speech, an 18 month extension of the obligation was appropriate. Thus, broadcasters have more time to comply with this requirement (though the obligation to convert text carried in non-news programming – like emergency crawls – to speech broadcast on the SAP channel is already in effect for all TV stations (see our articles here and here).

The waiver extension is subject to the condition that NAB and the other petitioners provide a status report to the FCC on efforts to develop a technical solution by November 22, 2017.

David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline.  Access information here. (Members only access).

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