Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Talk Radio for the deaf??

What the hell did the deaf ever do to radio to deserve this?
LAS VEGAS—Talk radio may soon get a whole new audience: the deaf. At a pre-CES briefing in Las Vegas, radio transmitter manufacturer Harris Technology demoed a technology that would enable the deaf to "read" talk radio broadcasts in real time.

"We want to make radio accessible to people that are deaf and hearing impaired," said Hal Kneller, senior manager of business development at Harris Corporation.

And there are a lot of them. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), nearly 10,000,000 persons are hard of hearing and close to 1,000,000 are functionally deaf.

The systems works a lot like close captioning does for television. The company will piggy-back a data stream on the standard audio signal. The text can then be read on radio fitted with a display. The system will only work with digital broadcasts, but the company says an Internet-based solution is possible.

More at the full PC Magazine article.

Now the deaf, too, can suffer the wave of seething, hate-filled vitriol that is right-wing talk radio. H'ray!

(Actually, given its potential beyond so-called 'talk radio' - a tainted term that has come to be code for 'right-wing blowhards whining about what victims they are' - I'm pretty excited about this development for the deaf. There are over 1500 HD radio stations in the US, and Canada has just opened the door to HD, allowing the CBC to begin testing HD radio in Ontario.)




Blogger Xtreme English said...

That is TRULY horrifying! Pouring that mindless venom into a largely unsophisticated audience. Oh, what am I saying? The HEARING audience for these freaks is unsophisticated, too.

9:46 p.m.  
Blogger Brent McKee said...

Well in Canada it could mean subjecting the deaf to Rex Murphy on Cross Country Checkup, but that's definitely not what you're talking about.

1:20 p.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

never heard rex murphy....tell me what he's like.

9:31 p.m.  
Blogger Brent McKee said...

Well to start, he's a Newfoundlander, which means that no text solution will ever quite convey the cadence of the way he speaks. In appearance he sort of looks as if he stuck his finger in an electric light socket as a kid and his eyes and hair are still feeling the effect have a century later (okay not so much the hair anymore but back in the '90s).

The man is brilliant. He was a Rhodes Scholar - in fact he was at Oxford at the same time as Bill Clinton - and as his Wikipedia entry says is "known for his polysyllabic, vitriolic and sarcastic diatribes." In his politics he is Liberal (it's not a dirty word up here, it's the name of one of our two biggest political parties) but he's not afraid to skewer politicians of every stripe. Polysyllabically.

His show, "Cross Country Checkup" airs Sunday afternoons starting at 4 p.m. EST (but it's live across the country so it starts at 3 p.m. where I live (CST), and 5:30 p.m. in Newfoundland. Truth be known, I think you'd probably like him. CBC streams live on the Internet from each of the regions:

3:00 p.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

hey, i know about newfies. we had a couple at gallaudet, and they told us EVERYTHING. they were truly funny. is this murphy person funny? or just a Liberal? is Big-L liberal like Big-D deaf??

11:48 p.m.  
Blogger Brent McKee said...

Oh Rex has more than a few funny moments, usually in the course of his "polysyllabic, vitriolic and sarcastic diatribes," but where he reolly shows those off are in his occassional TV commentaries on The National (the nightly national news show on CBC TV).

And Big-L liberal is basically an assertion of the party you belong to or support - the Liberal Party (of Canada or of the various provinces) - rather than ideological tendencies. Sometimes the Liberals aren't that liberal. (The best party name ever was the old Progressive Conservatives - they had all the bases covered).

4:09 p.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

progressive conservatives....i love it!

6:17 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

M.E., in response to "what [Rex Murphy's] like", I was going to say "loquacious", but Brent did a much finer job of capturing the essence of the fellow.

Every Sunday evening (well, evening in Atlantic Canada) he hosts a live phone-in radio show that for a large group of Canadians is a weekly tradition, where the subject can be the scandal du jour, some serious economic or political issue, or "what good book have you read lately?" It's a country-wide conversation that is sort of a national tradition or touchstone. He also writes absolutely scathing columns in The Globe and Mail.

He's small-l Liberal, although by times he says things that make me want to reach through my radio and give his nose a damned good tweak; he may be a large-L Liberal too (as in, member of the Party) but like most journalists he's never endorsed or said he's voted for or is a member of any political party as far as I know.

Giving deaf people access to programs like Cross-Country Checkup would be one of the positive benefits I allude to at the end of my post, as Brent correctly assumes.


8:08 p.m.  
Blogger Brent McKee said...

Ronnie, Rex Murphy ran three times for the provincial legislature in Newfoundland. The first time was as a Conservative, but of course that was just after Joey Smallwood, with whom he had a rather famous confrontation while Rex was an undergraduate at Memorial University, had quit as leader of the party. The other two times he ran as a Liberal. In addition he worked for a time as an assistant to Clyde Wells, so I think calling him a "large L" Liberal is reasonably justified.

4:42 p.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

ronnie, i remember with great fondness the days before i lost my hearing when my then husband and i would ride through north dakota on our way to his clients in very small towns near the Canadian border....and we would listen to CBC--the very best radio either of us had ever heard. then i lost my hearing and i never heard any more radio at all, U.S. or Canadian. I know what total douchebags rush limbaugh, et al., are (ha...i used to do radio research without being able to hear radio at all, and i know he has always been very big among young, white, male, low SES listeners). Is Rex Murphy like this? Is this progress for anyone, deaf or hearing, to be able to listen to this? i guess. we have to KNOW what's going on in our world. if we don't know what these kinds of people are saying, we can never develop any sense of proportion about them.

5:02 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Well bust my buttons, Brent, I had totally missed that part of Murphy's long and varied resume. You're right - under the circumstances it seems the gentleman has declared himself, and a Large-L Liberal he is.

8:56 p.m.  
Anonymous Dann said...


I have to take issue with your assertion that Rush holds an attraction for poor, white males. He holds an attraction for many other groups as well....albeit less well defined groups.

Business people...in particular salesmen/road warriors....have an affinity for his broadcast as well. And that group includes more than a few upper end folks....including white males.

A former listener

1:35 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Dann, you identify yourself as a "former" Rush Limbaugh listener.

Why so?

(I don't ask this as a goad to battle, but from a genuine curiosity, as I hope you know by now old friend.)

1:23 a.m.  
Anonymous Dann said...

Old friend....and I'm always in short supply of those...[grin]

Primarily because he stopped being funny.

I'll try to post something about it over at my place.

Warmest Regards,

3:52 p.m.  

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