CBC expands accessibility project for hearing-impaired audiences
Initiative to support an estimated 1 to 3 million Canadians who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
CBC is expanding a successful pilot project to make its radio programming more accessible to those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, with As It Happens to now join The Current in posting daily show transcripts online to read, print and share.
It's part of a continuing effort to support audience members who are deaf or hard-of-hearing — an estimated 1 to 3 million Canadians, according to the Canadian Hearing Society.
Radio audiences will be able to listen and read along to individual show segments or entire episodes through a new audio player tool available for both As It Happens and The Current.
Audiences will also be able to read along and listen to archived transcriptions using the new audio player.
Since the pilot project's launch in Feb. 2016, The Current's transcripts have been viewed more than 100,000 times.
"By expanding on what has been a very successful and innovative initiative, CBC is strengthening its commitment to make vital, distinctly Canadian programming more accessible to all," Susan Marjetti, CBC's executive director of radio and audio English services, said in a statement.
A second grant from the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund has allowed the project to expand.
As It Happens, co-hosted by Carol Off and Jeff Douglas, has been one of CBC Radio One's flagship programs since 1968. It airs weekdays at 6:30 p.m. ET.
A benefit to new Canadians
Co-host Off welcomes the new initiative.
"Transcribed interviews make our programs available to people with hearing disabilities and also to those who might have a hard time following an interview because it's on a phone line," she said, adding that the initiative will be useful to newcomers as well.
"This service also gives new Canadians who are in the process of learning the language another way to access our programs that will enhance the experience for them."
For more on how CBC has been engaging with audiences, check out Strategy 2020: A space for us all, launched in June 2014.