iPods, BlackBerrys, laptops, and high definition television have taken our world to another dimension of technology. These advancements are progressively changing generations to think that everything is accessible with the touch of a button, but technology wasn’t always as progressive as it is today. People with disabilities were often left in the dark, and it wasn’t until the ’70s when something as average as watching television could finally translate to a whole other community. Checkout Alternative Communication Services LLC for more info.
In 1970 ABC-TV tried sending digitally encoded information through the analog TV signal to the National Bureau of Standards as an experiment. The experiment was a flop, however ABC suggested that captions might be possible to send instead.
Nashville, Tennessee in 1971 the First National Conference was the first televised programming where captions were a proven success. In the ’90s, closed captioning was being regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, otherwise known as the FCC. In 1990 the FCC mandated that all televisions 13 inches or larger be manufactured with a decoder chip for closed captions. In ’96 The Telecommunications Act required closed captions on all distributions of programming whether satellite or cable. In 1998 the FCC established an eight year transition period where all television programming prior to ’98 and on, would by law be required to adopt closed captioning services thereafter. In the years after, the FCC would rule that a certain percentage of all televised programming (dated pre January 1st, 1998) would have to be captioned as well and then in 2002 it was mandated that 100% of all TV programming was to be captioned.
With the influx of government regulations on the captioning industry, it has become another budgetary process for every television network. There are only a few exceptions to these FCC regulatory demands for captioning, most of which do not meet the mass programming on our day-to-day cable programming. These exceptions file under the “undue burden” clause of the closed captioning mandate. This means that payment of captioning for all programming could potentially be a risk in the continuance of the network/station. The monetary amount a station would need to be making to fall under this exception would be $2 million annually, which again, most television networks/stations hardly fall under that category.