WAMU Features Real-Time Online Captioning

Service for the deaf and hard of hearing was available during two broadcasts of ‘Kojo Nnamdi’
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The “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” from WAMU(FM), Washington, debuted real-time online captioning on two broadcasts heard on its website, kojoshow.org, 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.