Past News Articles About Audio Description
This page contains selected news items previously
featured on our main page, starting in 2019.
For previous AD news articles, see our listing from
2010 to 2014 and
2015 to 2018.
LAST CALL for Nominations:
11th Annual ADP Achievement
It's time once again to nominate individuals and organizations for our
annual "Achievement in Audio Description" awards. Categories are as
- Achievement in Audio Description - Media
- Achievement in Audio
Description - Performing Arts
- Achievement in Audio Description -
Museums/Visual Art/Visitor Centers
- Achievement in Audio Description -
- Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Memorial Award in Audio
Description - Research and Development
- Barry Levine Memorial Award for
Career Achievement in Audio Description
award nomination document and/or view past
Deadline is June 7. (Updated Jun 4)
Audio Description in China
Meet the woman making film accessible to the visually impaired is the
title of an article on Time Out Shanghai. Han Ying, who is visually
impaired, now edits audio description for films, and she discusses how she got
the job and what some of the challenges are. Her hope for the future is
the same as many others: "when someone walks into a cinema, with the
help of a chip and a pair of earphones, they’re able to enjoy most of the
latest films in most of the commercial cinemas and be surrounded by visually
abled people." Yes! (Posted Apr 23)
FCC Seeks YOUR Input on "Video Description"
*** LAST CALL ***
The FCC will continue to accept comments through MAY 1.
The ACB will forward
your comments on your behalf through MONDAY APRIL 29.
In preparation for a report to Congress, the FCC is soliciting input on
"recent developments in the video description marketplace." Those topics
which apply to consumers are as follows:
- The amount and types of programming described, including children's
programming and specific examples of what is watched.
- The extent to which household members, both visually impaired or
not, watch described programming.
- The ease with which consumers can access online guides, and how well
the networks inform you of their described programming.
- How well are networks making available Video-On-Demand of previously
- Are there "any data points that quantify or otherwise capture
the benefits of video description for audiences"?
- Other questions are primarily for networks to answer.
This is an extremely important opportunity for each individual who enjoys
the benefits of described television programming to provide input!
Failing to respond means you are willing to let others decide how much
described programming you receive. PLEASE take the time to read the
following document and provide your input.
FCC 11-43 Document. (To read a version with all
the footnotes removed, use this Screen
Reader version of FCC 11-43 Document link.)
Then use the
Express Input Form to submit comments. In the online input form, type
"11-43" in "Proceedings," press Enter, then continue through the
form. If you prefer to submit a Word or other format document, use the
option, type "11-43" in "Proceedings," press Enter, then continue. Deadline
was April 1, but comments will be accepted through May 1!!!
NEW REPLY OPTION:
email your personalized comments to
email@example.com and the ACB national office will file your comments on your
behalf through Monday, April 29.
Is AD the Future of TV Viewing?
Curtin research finds audio description key to future of television viewing.
That's the title of an article by an Australian University. Curiously,
they point out that "Australia is the only English-speaking nation in the OECD
[a 36-country consortium] not to offer audio description on free-to-air
television." Their theory is “Audio description would be attractive to
people who are multi-tasking while they are watching television and has the
potential to become another television accessibility feature that is embraced
by the mainstream population, just as closed captions have been.”
(Posted Apr 16)
The Wizardry of Audio Description
In the 1960s, Chet Avery, a blind theater-lover, now retired from the
Department of Education, conceived of audio description as a formal process
that could convey the visual images of theater performances to people who are
blind or have low vision.
Many years later, he enjoyed sharing described versions of movies with
his granddaughter, Kate. Kate grew to love the described versions –
"Grandpa's version" – and in an essay relates her enchantment with the
described VHS tape of "The Wizard of Oz" (with description provided by
Read Kate Avery's essay and
enjoy a clip from the
film. (Posted Apr 9)
The CW's In the Dark
offers a Saturday morning kids' series called One Magnificent
Morning with description. Now they are offering an original
prime time series Thursdays at 9pm called In the
Dark. Why is it described? Presumably because its leading
character is a blind woman! And that, of course, has lead to the
controversy that the actress (Perry Mattfeld) is not blind herself. Read
The CW’s In the Dark Is a Compelling Look at the Blind Experience.
Please note that since The CW is not a network mandated by the FCC to carry
description, you may or may not be able to receive description locally.
Also note that this show has adult themes. (Posted Apr 9)
Streaming Video Listings Unified
For the past few weeks we've been talking about modifications to our
streaming video listings for Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, and Prime Video
to add more and more features. Now, finally, they all contain the same
information: Title, Type (movie, series, etc.), link to content, genre,
and rating, PLUS we have separate by-genre listings for each service (except
Please note that each service assigns a primary genre to each video, and their
choice of genres may differ from service to service for the same title, plus
we "consolidate" similar genres for convenience. (Updated Apr 9)
ACVREP Audio Description Certification Subject Matter Expert Committee Formed
Last fall, the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and
Education Professionals (ACVREP) announced it was recruiting individuals who
might wish to serve on its new Subject Matter Expert Committee for Audio
Description. Both a Certification Committee and an Advisory Board have
now been formed. The committee will be charged with crafting all
material related to the certification process for audio description.
Read the ACVREP Announcement.
(Posted Apr 3)
*** Hulu Begins Audio Description ***
Hulu has begun providing Audio
Description, and we are summarizing what we know on
our new Hulu page plus
including the programs in our
Master AD List. Note that audio description is only available
via a web browser initially.
And here is
an article about Hulu beginning description. (Updated Apr 3)
WMU Student Helps Launch AD for Theatre
The Kalamazoo (Michigan) Civic Theatre was approached by a patron
about offering audio description. Fortunately, they located Abby Tongue,
a student at Western Michigan University's Department of Blindness and Low
Vision Studies, who reached out to others, including the ACB, to prepare
herself to offer her services as an audio describer.
Read the story
of how this came about! (Posted Mar 12)
The Oscars: A Missing Award
They honor the script writers, but how about the audio describers?
"For blind cinema goers, audio description is a crucial part of any film.
It is just as important as acting, cinematography and score." That's the
premise of this article on The Conversation website entitled,
Oscars: audio description brings film to life for blind people, it deserves an
award too. The article concludes with, "It may be too late for
this year but it seems only right that an audio describer is properly awarded
at the 2020 Oscars." Read it and see if you agree! By the way, the
French Confederation for the Advancement of Blind People has addressed this
issue, as noted in the article. Très bien! (Posted Feb 26)
“Access,” a Short Film About Accessibility
It took Chris Higgins nearly four years to complete "Access," a short
documentary which "follows Cory Joseph through a typical day, showing how he
uses his smartphone, Braille display, tactile watch, and guide dog (named
Vine) to navigate the world." He struggled with editing to allow for
audio description, but here's the great point of all this: "Ultimately I
decided that there should be only one version of this film, and it should
include Audio Description, because that makes the film accessible to a wider
audience. I think there’s a lesson for creative people: Even if you think you
'get it,' you might not be getting it. Leave room to reconsider."
Wow! Thank you Chris.
Read the Article and Watch Access. (Posted Feb 15)
From Our Friends in the UK:
Where is TV Audio
Description Heading in 2019
article from the BroadcastNow website in the UK addresses the same
frustration visually impaired TV watchers have in the USA and elsewhere:
a lot of top shows are not audio described or fail to be described later on
other platforms. (Posted Feb 15) Also in the UK (From Jan 9):
European Audio Subtitles Day
Audio Subtitles Day will be held in Barcelona on March 4 "to raise
awareness of the accessibility possibilities of existing subtitling assets."
(You may need to click through several lead-in pages,) (Posted Feb 15)
2019 BADIE Contest Winners Announced
The 2019 winners of the Benefits of Audio
Description In Education
have been announced. Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner John Holstein
from the West Virginia School for the Blind for his review of Snowflake
Bentley and Voyage to Mars -- and to all the other winners.
Read the BADIE Press Release. (Posted Feb 5)
Theater of the Mind
In the article,
Theater of the Mind: Washington Ear brings live theater to visually impaired,
the accomplishments of The
Metropolitan Washington Ear are discussed. The first audio
description of live theater took place in Washington in 1981. Now, a
team of 21 audio describers covers upwards of 60 plays a year in nine
theaters. This article is a great introduction to what audio description
is and its benefits! (Posted Feb 5)
Netflix Adds By-Genre AD Listings
At the urging of the Audio Description Project based on user feedback,
Netflix has modified their
Audio Description in English listing (only available to members) to
include separate links for audio described programs by genre. The genre
options are as follows: TV Shows, Action, Anime, Children & Family,
Comedies, Crime, Documentaries, Dramas, Horror, Independent, International,
Music & Musicals, Reality, Romance, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Stand-Up Comedy,
Thrillers. (Posted Feb 3)
Marilee Talkington Luncheon Address
Finally, we have excerpted the
address by Marilee Talkington at our ADP Conference last July from an
otherwise damaged conference recording. Marilee is an actress with
significant visual impairment. She recounted for us her experience
trying to break into the commercial world of acting, and we play (on the
recording) an excerpt of her role in an NCIS episode last year. Listen
to the 40-minute MP3 file by clicking the link above. (Posted Jan 18)
Audio Description in Israel
In 2018, Israel's Central Library for the Blind received the annual Audio
Description Project's International award. Later this month (January 2019),
the Library will offer its first Audio Description training course.
Read about all the accomplishments the
library has made in the past year regarding audio description! (Posted
CVAA Accessibility Rules Now Apply to Video Games
A waiver offering video games temporary exemption from the Communications
and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 has expired, meaning that games released
after the expiration date of December 31, 2018 have a set of new
communication-focused rules to keep in mind to stay on the up-and-up with the
Federal Communications Commission and dodge potential fines. Read
CVAA accessibility rules come into effect for games as FCC waiver expires.
(Posted Jan 9)
Inaccessible Specialty Video Websites
As a visually impaired gay man, author/journalist Belo Cipriani was excited
when he "heard about GayMovie Database — a new, online database of over 1,000
TV shows, as well as short and long movies of interest to the LGBTQ
community." Unfortunately, it wasn't very accessible. In this
article, he discusses his frustration with the pervasive problem about
websites ignoring accessibility upfront and the difficulties of retrofit.
Read Seeing in
the Dark: Debunking digital inclusion. (Posted Jan 9)
Audio Description Is For Sighted Folks, Too!
December article in The Slate highlights how GOOD audio description can enhance ANYONE's enjoyment
of a film. In
The Best Performance in A Christmas Prince Is the One You Never See
On Screen, the author declares, "in the case of A Christmas Prince, the audio description serves
another bonus function [beyond its intended audience], because it also happens
to be the ideal A Christmas Prince––watching companion." The author wisely
reminds us, "Good audio description does not call attention to itself."
She then goes on to compliment describer Roland Bearne's audio description.
Bearne (pictured), a Brit, has been describing for almost 20 years. (Posted Jan 1)
Happy 10th Birthday - Audio Description Project!
In January 2009, Joel Snyder and then-ACB president Chris Gray proposed the
establishment of an initiative to promote and celebrate the development of
audio description: the Audio Description Project (ADP). Kim Charlson led the
ADP's steering committee until her "promotion" several years ago to ACB
President. Since that time, Dan Spoone has ably steered the ADP toward its
current vibrant level of activity with the important contributions of Dr. Joel
Snyder, the Project's director, and Fred Brack, the ADP webmaster. For a
review of the ADP's accomplishment over the past decade and throughout 2018,
Our First Decade
Joel, Fred, Kim, and Dan
And Thanks Also to ...
Here's two more folks who bring contributions to this website each week.
Sebastian Andrade Miles, who pours over TV listings each week
to bring you our TV by Days
listing; and Vicki Vogt from the Perkins School for the Blind
Library, who each week compiles and circulates a detailed listing of all the
described movies currently showing in theatres. We extract them and
offer her listing to you under Cinema above.
Thanks! (Posted Jan 1)