The media access report

US action on accessible digital radio

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US action on accessible digital radio

National Public Radio (NPR) and WGBH’s National Center for Accessible Media are embarking on what is expected to be a three-year research project to develop accessible digital radio. The project will be partly funded by a grant from the

Department of Education’s National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation and Research. This grant will cover 65% of the budgeted cost for the project’s first year of US$227,810, with the remaining 35% funded by NPR.

The project aims to design prototype digital radio receivers, which will then be given to Deaf, hearing impaired, blind and vision impaired consumers to test. At the conclusion of these tests, the project’s recommendations on design criteria will be turned over to equipment manufacturers.

“As radio moves into the digital transmission arena, public radio is committed to providing people with sensory disabilities equal access to news, entertainment and emergency services,” said Mike Starling, Chief Technical Officer at NPR.

NPR currently operates 100 radio reading services for the blind, providing reading of text from newspapers, books and magazines.

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