The first radio program to use a new radio captioning technology broadcast to more than 100 public radio stations using the Latino USA program for the first time on February 22. Captioned-radio broadcasts allow an audience of nearly 7 million people in the United States who are deaf and hard of hearing to "listen" to the radio.
Towson University associate professor Ellyn Sheffield has collaborated with NPR to bring the technology to the public through the University's International Center for Accessibile Radio Technology (ICART). ICART started developing the program in 2007, and the technology was first tested in 2008 during the Presidential election.
"Through this accessible radio initiative, a small amount of the total data capacity will be used to carry textual data that will be shown live on a screen on new versions of HD Radio receivers, essentially providing a closed-caption transcript of live broadcasts for people who are deaf or hard of hearing," according to the National Center for Accessible Media.