CBC Radio and current affairs show The Current are starting a pilot project to help improve the accessibility of public radio for an estimated 1.3 million Canadians who are deaf or hearing impaired.
Beginning Monday, CBC will post text transcripts of the show — Canada's No. 1 radio interview program — online daily for audiences to read, print and share.
A wide variety of listeners, from post-secondary students and professors to new citizens learning English to engaged listeners, regularly contact The Current to request program transcripts.
The public broadcaster also pledges to film one American Sign Language (ASL)-interpreted radio documentary from the The Current and post it online each month.
The project is possible through the help of a grant from the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.
"This is a first for CBC Radio and unique in Canadian media," Heather Conway, CBC's executive vice president of English Services, said in a statement.
"By forging a deeper connection between traditional radio and the digital sphere, CBC is leading the way in providing all Canadians with unprecedented ways to access vital, distinctly Canadian radio conversations."
With the ASL-interpreted radio docs — such as Willow Yamauchi's Deaf Jam as presented by Toronto ASL-English interpreter Kathy Munro, posted in the video above — CBC aims to engage deaf audiences in both an exciting new way as well as in a preferred language.
"At The Current, we strive to bring our audience stories that encourage them to think about our world and our society in ways they might not have considered," added host and veteran journalist Anna Maria Tremonti.
"This project will give people who are deaf or hard of hearing and the hearing impaired an opportunity to join us in that process and to be part of a larger conversation about what is happening around us."