On February 1, 2016, Canada’s public broadcaster, CBC, announced a pilot project “to make Canadian public radio available to an estimated 1.3 million Canadians who are otherwise unable to listen.”
The broadcaster plans to make available text transcripts of the popular current affairs show The Current on a daily basis. The Current is the number one radio interview program in the country, with almost 2.3 million Canadians tuning in each week.
The show’s host, Anna Maria Tremonti, said of the initiative, “This project will give people who are deaf or hard of hearing an opportunity to join us…and to be part of a larger conversation about what is happening around us. I am delighted to be part of the effort to open that door to this important group of Canadians.”
As most often happens, opening up accessibility to people with disabilities also creates solutions for others. CBC is regularly contacted by listeners wanting transcripts of shows and this initiative will respond to their needs as well.
In addition to making the online transcripts available, CBC has also begun filming, editing and posting one documentary each month that is interpreted in American Sign Language (ASL).
To read the details of the launch of this project, you can access the media release here. To watch a CBC ASL-interpreted radio documentary about the relationship between deafness and music, click here.