Shop at Home Inc. has to provide 900 hours of closed-captioning during the
first three months of this year to avoid penalties, the Federal Communications
Commission ruled Tuesday.
The National Association of the Deaf lodged a complaint telling the
commission Shop at Home failed to closed-caption any of its programming under an
FCC schedule that took effect in January 2000.
Shop at Home replied that it was not required to begin captioning two years
ago because it met the FCC's definition of a 'new network,' and it was exempt
from captioning until 2002.
In its decision, the FCC disagreed that Shop at Home was a new network under
its rules. The agency said Shop at Home, which owns five TV stations, began
operating 15 years ago.
The FCC ordered Shop at Home to comply with current captioning rules, which
require 900 hours of program captioning per quarter in 2002. The agency added
that if Shop at Home failed to comply, it might impose penalties.
In the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress ordered the FCC to require
cable operators, TV stations and direct-broadcast satellite carriers to ensure
that programmers captioned programming to benefit the hearing-impaired.
The commission's rules generally phased in captioning requirements to
accommodate cost concerns raised by programmers and