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WAMU Features Real-Time Online Captioning

Service for the deaf and hard of hearing was available during two broadcasts of ‘Kojo Nnamdi’

The “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” from WAMU(FM), Washington, debuted real-time online captioning on two broadcasts heard on its website,, allowing the deaf and hard of hearing to follow and participate in the discussions via their computers.

The program is a live two-hour magazine program that highlights news, political issues and social trends of the day.

On Monday, Oct. 11, Nnamdi’s program explored expanding access to broadcast technology in light of a new federal law aimed at increasing content on mobile phones and TV for people with disabilities; on Tuesday, Oct. 12, it looked at how some companies are integrating accessibility into their design process so that the latest gadgets are available for all people, including those with a disability.

Real-time captioning allowed the deaf and hard of hearing to follow these discussions in real time. The service is produced in collaboration with Speche Communications. Participants were prompted to download a SpecheBox plug-in if it is not already on their computers. They could ask questions via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter to be answered on-air.

RW reported that NPR Labs demonstrated the ability to do real-time captioning on special receivers in its election coverage in 2008.