FCC regulations leave church TV program in limbo

A local television program is in danger of signing off due to some federal regulations.For over 40 years, Broadway Baptist Church in Sweetwater has been airing a thirty-minute program every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. on KTXS. But after January 6, the program has not aired, following a letter from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in which the show's exemption status--which deals with closed captioning--had changed.According to Chris Litt, the youth/associate pastor of Broadway Baptist Church, many churches airing television programs were granted an exemption in 2006. All programs are required to have closed-captioning, except shows that air during a particular block of overnight hours.On October 25, 2011, however, many of the exemption statuses were reversed by the FCC. At this time, the local church was given a chance to file a new petition to continue the exemption."Currently the church is still involved in this process, as FCC has not made a determining statement as of yet," said Litt. "However, due to concerns facing punishment from the FCC, KTXS has determined not to air Broadway's services until the program can be compliant, or a decision by the FCC is made."In the meantime, Broadway Baptist is exploring some different options in order to comply with the new FCC regulations. One possibility would be to use a captioning service. However, the cost of the program would end up increasing the current cost of airing the program by four times the amount. The other option would be to purchase software to where the program could be captioned in-house. While this option is not as highly priced as the first choice, its cost would equal the annual fee of the television program.Since 1971, the Broadway Baptist Church program has aired under the leadership of six different pastors. In its inception, the pastor and choir members would conduct a live broadcast at the television station formerly located on the east side of Sweetwater.Outside of a few places where local programs are broadcast, the church television program covers the entire KTXS viewing area--from as far north as King County and as south as the Concho Valley and extending from Colorado City to Stephenville.While the church continues to work to resume its normal broadcast schedule on television, the evening service of Broadway Baptist Church can be heard live on Sunday nights at 6 p.m. on KXOX 1240 AM.