Fifty Years of Media Accessibility

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From GBH

50 years ago in 1972, GBH pioneers invented open broadcast captions so that Julia Child’s “The French Chef” could be enjoyed by those that were dear or hard of hearing through displaying the text of dialogue and other audio elements of the program.

Bryan Gould, Director of GBH’s National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), joined host David Pogue of Sunday Morning earlier this month for a deep dive into into all the innovative ways in which GBH has been pushing the envelope in making media accessible to all ever since…

While Bryan was providing background on GBH’s long history of making media accessible to all, David was surprised to learn that broadcast captioning was invented by GBH. “You guys started that?!” He asked. Bryan confirmed that broadcast captions, which assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing by displaying the text of dialogue and other audio elements of a program, were in fact invented at GBH in 1972.

He went on to discuss GBH’s Descriptive Video Service, the visual counterpart to closed captioning, which provides audio descriptions of the visual elements happening on- screen for people who are blind or visually impaired.

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