Make Your Voice Be Heard!

In honor of the second annual Audio Description Awareness Day (April 16th) — I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you a post from the Audio Description Project (ADP) Listserv that was written by Fred Brack, the ADP Webmaster and Social Media Manager. For those of you who may never have heard of the Audio Description Project, it is an initiative of the American Council of the Blind and repository (and sometimes a catalyst) for all things audio description. Fred does a stellar job and you can check out the website here or use this URL: https://www.acb.org/adp/.

Fred’s post is about letting the FCC know what changes you would like to see to the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. So let’s celebrate our awareness of audio description by taking action!

The FCC Wants to Know What Changes You Want to the CVAA
(Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act)

As requested in this FCC Public Notice, the FCC would like to know what changes you feel are required in the 10-year old CVAA.  “Given changes in technology and industry practices, as well as taking into account consumer experiences, we seek comment on whether there is a need to update these rules.”  For example, we at the ADP suggest you consider the following.  Are enough shows described today on TV?  Are enough non-broadcast networks (USA, TBS, etc.) covered?  Are enough regions of the country covered?  Are cable TV providers able to supply the right equipment and answer your questions about AD?  Are you satisfied with the quantity and quality of audio description provided?

How about the streaming services?  The ACB has had to initiate legal action in many cases to get streaming companies to provide description.  Should the FCC mandate it for streamers of a certain size or type of content?  And once an audio description track is created, should there be some requirement that it must be passed along just like closed captioning is to any other service that picks up the show for rebroadcast?  These are just some of the things you should be thinking about.  And don’t simply rely upon someone else to voice these comments.  MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!  Historically, few blind or low vision individuals have replied to these Requests for Comment, which does not reflect well on the needs and desires of individuals with visual impairment.

How do you submit your comments to the FCC?  Here is the simplified process:

  1. Write your comments in a Word document, PDF, or plain text file.
  2. Go to this web address:  https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings.
  3. Type the Proceeding Number in the first box:  21-140 and press Enter.
  4. The following fields are required on the form as you tab down:  Name(s); Primary Contact Email; Address Of (use “Filer” or “Author”); Address, City, State, Zip.
  5. At that point, the next field says to “Click or drop files here.”  You should be able to click to select your prepared comments, or drag and drop if you prefer.
  6. Click the box to receive an email confirmation of your submission.
  7. Finally you will click the button to “Continue to the Review Screen.”  (We haven’t done this yet, so we hope it is obvious from here on!)

There is an alternative.  If you want to type your comments directly, use this web address: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express.  The form is similar and slightly shorter, and you could cut-and-paste your comments into the Comment block if you wish.  As a last resort, you can send your comments to this address:  FCC504@fcc.gov.  In each case, remember that the Proceeding Number is 21-140.  DO IT NOW!

Fred Brack, fbrack@acb.org
ADP Webmaster and Social Media Manager

acb.org/adp *** facebook.com/acbadp *** twitter.com/ADPwebmaster

The Audio Description Project is an initiative of the American Council of the Blind

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