The Best Buy Insignia Narrator HD Radio receiver has won the FCC Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility for 2012.
Now in their second year, the awards were created to encourage technological innovation in communication-related areas and to recognize engineers, research and other technologists who help the disabled obtain jobs and succeed.
IBiquity SVP Advanced Services Joe D’Angelo said the Narrator exemplifies how HD Radio technology can bring new communications services to underserved audiences.
Best Buy began taking pre-orders for the AM/FM unit in May and the radio has been available for shipping since July. It retails for just under $100.
The Narrator, marketed under Best Buy’s Insignia brand, is unusual in that it’s designed for both sighted and visually-impaired users, according to Best Buy and iBiquity Digital. That’s why it’s certified by the International Association of Audio Information Services as a radio reading services receiver.
The buttons on the unit are larger than normal, with raised lettering. Narrators are shipped with the accessible mode as the default, so when a blind or visually-impaired purchaser turns it on, the user is prompted to tune the radio with voice commands.
A sighted user can turn off the accessible voice command feature. The tabletop receiver also supports Artist Experience, in which the audio and is synchronized with visual images.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will present the award in a ceremony on Dec. 19. There were six winners this year along with two additional honorable mentions.