FCC Poised to Expand Audio Description Rule to TV DMA Markets 61-70

Audio description makes video programming more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  Today, commercial TV stations that are affiliated with one of the top four commercial television broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) and are located in the top 60 television markets are required to provide 50 hours of audio-described programming per calendar quarter during prime time or on children’s programming, as well as an additional 37.5 hours of audio-described programming per calendar quarter at any time between 6 a.m. and midnight.  Last April, the Commission proposed to expand audio description requirements to an additional 10 DMAs per year for four years, thus covering DMAs 61 through 100.

At its meeting on October 27, the FCC will expand the number of stations subject to the audio description rules. The FCC’s proposed order would:

  • Expand the audio description requirements to TV DMA Markets 61-70 beginning the later of January 1, 2021, or the effective date of the Report and Order.
  • Use an updated Nielsen determination of market rankings to facilitate the efficient roll out of audio description requirements to more television households.
  • Provide that, in 2023, the Commission will determine whether to continue expanding to an additional 10 DMAs per year beyond the top 100 DMAs.
  • Make a non-substantive amendment to the rules to modernize the terminology by substituting the term “audio description” for the term “video description” for purposes of part 79 of the Commission’s rules.

The FCC ruling does not add any additional New York stations to the list for this year, as none are located in markets 60-70.  The 2020 Nielsen DMA market list for New York Stations is as follows:

  • New York City (DMA #1)
  • Buffalo (DMA #52)
  • Albany Schenectady Troy (DMA #59)
  • Rochester (DMA #76)
  • Syracuse (DMA #87)
  • Plattsburgh/Burlington (DMA # 96)
  • Binghamton (DMA #161)
  • Elmira Corning (DMA #178)
  • Watertown (DMA #181)

To see the FCC’s proposed decision click HERE.


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