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NCRA Offers Strong Support to Captioned Radio Pilot Project

June 15, 2011

On June 13, NCRA submitted a strongly worded letter to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) requesting funding for the Captioned Radio Pilot Launch, a joint project between National Public Radio (NPR) and Towson University. 

NPR and Towson University have been actively working toward providing closed captions for live radio broadcasts for several years now.  NCRA is asking that CPB provide the $900,000 in funding that the project will require to launch a 25-city captioned radio pilot project.  The project uses live captioners to provide instant closed captions to consumers across the country. 

In a letter to CPB, NCRA President Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag wrote, "Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the United States has decisively moved in the direction of equal access for all of its citizens. The development of captioned radio has the potential to be a major game-changer for the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities and will provide them access to radio, something that they have never had in the past."

Over 550 public radio stations are on the air with basic captioning infrastructure in place through their new HD radio transmitters and previous funding from the CPB.  Captioned radio allows text to be sent over home and car radios, Internet, and WiFi platforms, making emergency information available to individuals who have never had access to the radio.  The funding will be used as a pilot launch for the captioned radio to reach hundreds of consumers nationwide for a 120-day period.

NCRA strongly supports universal closed captioning and equal access for the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, and it will continue to ensure that the interests of closed captioners and CART providers are heard on Capitol Hill, with the FCC, and with other organizations.

Please contact Adam Finkel with any questions, comments, or concerns.