Focus Area Six
Spotlight on The Colin McEnroe Show and ASL Radio

Image: Rand Richards Cooper on air in a radio studio


In this section, we will look at an initiative by WNPR in partnership with the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut that aims to make radio more accessible by providing ASL interpretation of The Colin McEnroe Show in real time on Facebook Live (Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, 2017).

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Developing an Understanding

On January 19, 2017, WNPR’s The Colin McEnroe Show partnered with Hartford, Connecticut’s American School for the Deaf to provide ASL translation of a radio show about accessibility and inclusive design. The show was a Facebook Live video event and has been archived on The Colin McEnroe Show Facebook page (Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, 2017).

Josh Nilaya, one of the show’s producers said at the time, “Our show about accessibility,” will be about “designing all products and systems to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life. It’s about seeing that the world around us exists for everyone, all at once, and the (radio) hour will analyze the greater meaning and impact of that reality.” (Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, 2017).

The show featured two ASL interpreters, one who interpreted host Colin McEnroe and the other who interpreted the guests. The video was shown in a split screen so you could watch both interpreters at the same time. The Facebook live video event was broadcast at 1p.m. and rebroadcast at 8 p.m. on WNPR and archived on The Colin McEnroe Show Facebook page.

Thousands of people watched the live steam and the team is looking to simplify the process in order to persuade other public radio stations to give it a try (Hartford Courant, 2017).

Since this first broadcast, there have been a number of ASL episodes on a variety of topics including: Shyness; UFO’s in American Culture; Cash Culture and Mind Control (The Colin McEnroe Show, 2017).

Deepening Your Understanding

In this short clip from the January 19, 2017 Colin McEnroe Show Facebook live video event on accessibility, McEnroe asks Diane Johnson, President of Descriptive Video Works, to define described video.

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