The FCC tomorrow will hold a public forum on Electronic Newsroom Technique (ENT) of captioning live TV programming tomorrow from 1 PM to 4:45 PM Eastern Time (see the agenda here). The forum will be available for viewing online (go to the FCC webpage here for information about connecting). This forum may provide a good refresher for stations still using ENT to caption live programming to make sure that they are providing the quality captioning that the FCC expects as outlined in its orders on captioning quality that went into effect on June 30, 2014.

We wrote about some of the goals of the captioning quality proceeding here. The FCC itself has released a good compliance guide, which reminds broadcasters that TV stations that are not Top 25 market affiliates of the Top 4 TV networks can still rely on ENT, but they must be sure that the captions accurately convey what is being said by those speaking during on-air live or near live programing. Specifically, the compliance guide notes these FCC requirements to insure that the ENT captions reflect what is being said on the air:

  • In-studio produced news, sports, weather, and entertainment programming will be scripted.
  • For weather interstitials where there may be multiple segments within a news program, weather information explaining the visual information on the screen and conveying forecast information will be scripted, although the scripts may not precisely track the words used on air.
  • Pre-produced programming shall be scripted (to the extent technically feasible).
  • If live interviews , live on-the scene, or breaking news segments are not scripted, stations will supplement them with crawls, textual information, or other means (to the extent technically feasible).
  • The station will provide training to all news staff on scripting for improving ENT.
  • The station will appoint an “ENT Coordinator” accountable for compliance.

Stations still relying on ENT to meet their captioning responsibilities should review tomorrow’s discussion either live or when it is archived to assure that they are meeting all their responsibilities in following these FCC rules.