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The Audio Description Project

Top 60 Markets Which Must Provide Audio/Video Description

In August 2011, the FCC voted to reinstate the requirement for Video Description starting July 1, 2012 as defined in the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act.  We have arrived at a major "next step" in the FCC requirements:  expansion of the availability of description from the top 25 television markets to the top 60 markets, effective July 1, 2015.  (The markets are defined by the most current Nielsen rankings and may vary slightly from the markets as defined by other parties in the TV industry.)  Here is the specific wording of the requirement at the time from the FCC:

Where does your area lie?  Consult the following table, which was effective for the 2014-2015 TV season.  If you want to know how the areas changed in 2020, consult our page, Nielson DMA (Designated Market Area) Rankings; HOWEVER, the rule designates the July 1, 2015 date as the one for measurement of compliance.

Top 25 Markets Markets 26-60
1.  New York
2.  Los Angeles
3.  Chicago
4.  Philadelphia
5.  Dallas-Fort Worth
6.  SFO-Oakland-San Jose
7.  Boston (Manchester NH)
8.  Washington DC (Hagerstown)
9.  Atlanta
10. Houston
11. Phoenix (Prescott)
12. Detroit
13. Tampa-St Pete (Sarasota)
14. Seattle-Tacoma
15. Minneapolis-St Paul
16. Miami-Ft Lauderdale
17. Denver
18. Orlando-Daytona Bch-Melbrn
19. Cleveland-Akron (Canton)
20. St Louis
21. Sacramento-Stockton/Modesto
22. Pittsburgh
23. Portland, OR
24. Charlotte
25. Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville)
26. Baltimore
27. Indianapolis
28. San Diego
29. Nashville
30. Hartford-New Haven
31. Kansas City
32. Columbus, OH
33. San Antonio
34. Salt Lake City
35. Milwaukee
36. Cincinnati
37. Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson
38. West Palm Beach-Ft Pierce
39. Austin
40. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek
41. Las Vegas
42. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News
43. Birmingham (Anniston, Tuscaloosa)
44. Oklahoma City
45. Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York
46. Greensboro-High Point-W Salem
47. Albuquerque-Santa Fe
48. Jacksonville
49. Louisville
50. Memphis
51. New Orleans
52. Buffalo
53. Providence-New Bedford
54. Fresno-Visalia
55. Wilkes Barre-Scranton-Hazleton
56. Little Rock-Pine Bluff
57. Richmond-Petersburg
58. Albany-Schenectady-Troy
59. Mobile-Pensacola (Ft Walton Bch)
60. Tulsa

NOTE:  In the table above, the names in parentheses are as specified by Nielsen, and they are interpreted to be additional local areas included.  For instance, in the case of #25, Fayetteville is a nearby town which is not generally considered to be "part of" Raleigh-Durham, while the towns of Cary and Research Triangle Park would be considered part of Raleigh-Durham and aren't listed separately.  In a few cases, the areas stretch across state lines, like #59.

In case you are wondering, just missing the cutoff of 60 are Knoxville, Fort Myers / Naples, Lexington (KY), Dayton, and areas around Wichita, Charleston WV, Roanoke, Green Bay, Honolulu, and Flint.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't ask your local station for video description, however!  See the FCC's interpretation of the requirement under Who Must Provide Video Description on our TV page.