CBC announces pilot project to make Canadian public radio available to deaf and hard-of-hearing Canadians

February 1, 2016, Toronto

CBC is pleased to share details of its pilot project to make Canadian public radio available to an estimated 1-3 million* Canadians who are otherwise unable to listen. With the help of a grant from the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund, CBC will make text transcripts of CBC Radio One’s The Current available to the public on CBC.ca on a daily basis, and will film, edit and post one American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted radio documentary from the program on CBC.ca each month, starting today.

Hosted by veteran journalist Anna Maria Tremonti, CBC’s award-winning radio program The Current is the number-one radio interview program in the country, reaching nearly 2.3 million Canadians each week. It is a meeting place of perspectives, ideas and voices, with a fresh take on current issues that affect Canadians.

"At The Current, we strive to bring our audience stories that encourage them to think about our world and our society in ways they might not have considered," said Anna Maria Tremonti. "This project will give people who are Deaf or hard of hearing the hearing impaired an opportunity to join us in that process and to be part of a larger conversation about what is happening around us. I am delighted to be part of the effort to open that door to this important group of Canadians.”

"This is a first for CBC Radio and unique in Canadian media," said Heather Conway, executive vice president, English Services, CBC. "By forging a deeper connection between traditional radio and the digital sphere, CBC is leading the way in providing all Canadians with unprecedented ways to access vital, distinctly Canadian radio conversations.”

CBC produces a number of internationally renowned, award-winning documentaries each year, many of which are broadcast on The Current. By offering these documentaries in ASL-interpretation, CBC expects to engage and entertain Deaf audiences in an exciting new way, in many cases in their preferred language (ASL) for the first time.

Daily transcripts of The Current will be easily accessible through the program’s website for Canadians to read, print and share. In addition to benefitting the Deaf and hard of hearing community, transcripts will also boast significant benefits to society in general. Many listeners contact The Current each month to request program transcripts. The requests come from a wide variety of Canadians including post-secondary students and professors, new citizens looking to enhance and develop their working English, and engaged listeners simply wanting to learn more. Making transcripts available on a daily basis will benefit an array of citizens with and without disabilities.

CBC seeks to serve and include all Canadians and is constantly working to make all its media platforms accessible for everyone.

*source: Canadian Hearing Society

About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight aboriginal languages.

A space for us all is CBC/Radio-Canada's new strategy to modernize the public broadcaster and ensure that it continues to fulfill its mandate for Canadians and for future generations. Through to 2020, it will increase its investment in prime time television programming, and continue to create radio programs of the highest quality, while promoting the development of digital and mobile platforms and content.

For more information including series synopses, press releases, hi-res images, video clips and bios, please visit the CBC Media Centre at cbc.ca/mediacentre.

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