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‘Accessible Digital Radio’ Research Wins Grant Support

‘Accessible Digital Radio’ Research Wins Grant Support

Money will be available to help R&D into radio technologies to serve people with sensory disabilities.
NPR, along with WGBH’s National Center for Accessible Media, has received a grant from the Department of Education’s National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation and Research. The funds are to develop accessible radio technology for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired.
The Accessible Digital Radio Broadcast Services grant is for $150,000 in the first year. The plan is for a three-year R&D project. The project’s budget in the first year is about $228,000. NPR is funding the balance; and organizers hope for additional money from Congress in future years.
WGBH Director of Media Access Larry Goldberg stated, “It is crucial for us to address the unique needs of this growing population as we further develop HD radio services.”
The goal is to guide the design of prototype digital radios for evaluation by consumers with special needs. NPR and WGBH intend eventually to give the design criteria to receiver manufacturers. NPR said it has teamed with Dr. Ellyn Sheffield of Salisbury University, a researcher of consumer adaptation to digital radio services, to help design and test the technology in development.