As the second named tropical storm of this year makes its way up the East Coast, the FCC has warned video program distributors, including television stations and cable systems, to remember the Commission’s rules on the dissemination of emergency information. In a public notice issued today, the Commission summarized its rules regarding the visual presentation of emergency information to the hearing and visually impaired. in the last two years, the FCC has been aggressive in penalizing stations which did not make emergency information – information about an imminent threat to health or safety – available visually so that the hearing impaired could understand the message being conveyed. And the rules also require that an audio tone to alert the visually impaired be played if a station presents emergency information by text without interrupting other programming.
Today’s reminder ends with information about how to file a complaint against stations who do not comply with the requirements. This seems to be a clear warning to broadcasters that they need to carefully review the requirements, and be ready to comply should disaster strike.