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Audio Description to Allow the Blind To "See" the Total Eclipse

Solar EclipseWASHINGTON, August 10, 2017 - The Audio Description Project, an initiative of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), along with the Mid-Tennessee Council of the Blind, the Tennessee School for the Blind and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, announces an opportunity for blind people world-wide to experience the upcoming total eclipse of the sun.

On Monday afternoon, August 21, at exactly 1:27 p.m. (CDT), the Sun above Nashville, TN will disappear from view. The sky will go completely dark. But through the use of succinct, imaginative and vivid language - audio description - the event will be accessible to the millions of people who are blind or have low vision, or anyone who wishes to experience a verbal version of the visual.

Between 1 and 2 pm (CDT) [that's 2 - 3 pm EDT] on August 21, Dr. Joel Snyder will host "A Total Eclipse - Audio Described!" on ACB Radio. Snyder, the director of ACB's Audio Description Project, will present an hour of songs ("Ain't Got No Sunshine," "Here Comes the Sun," "Blinded by the Light," "When The Sun Goes Down," etc.), interviews and special guests - with the main event being described live from the Tennessee School for the Blind between 1:15 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. (CDT). Trained audio describer, Nashville-based Julia Cawthon, will describe the eclipse as it happens and provide a vivid "translation" of the visual event into words for the benefit of anyone who tunes in.

"Audio description uses the spoken word to provide access to visual images that would otherwise not be accessible to people who are blind or have low vision," stated Kim Charlson, president of the American Council of the Blind. "Audio describers help make so many aspects of our culture accessible. We're delighted to sponsor this program on August 21 and help people experience this important event."

ACB Radio InteractiveThree ways to access the broadcast:

  1. Go to and select "Click Here to Play." Then be sure to select the link that opens the player that you use to listen to music or stream internet radio stations.  NOTE:  The program will be recorded and will be available in the ACB Radio Archives.
  2. You can also listen on any telephone by dialing (605) 475-8130 and select option 4.
  3. If you are using an iOS device such as an iPad or iPhone, install ACB Link; open the app, select the radio tab and then tap on the menu button. Select "live streams" and "ACB Radio Interactive," select the play button and the stream will launch.


While we encourage everyone to listen to the ADP broadcast, keep in mind that unless you are near Nashville, TN, the degree of sun occlusion where you are will be somewhat different at that exact moment.  For instance, on the west coast, the eclipse peaks over an hour earlier, while on the east coast it peaks 20 minutes later.

Some radio reading services are also going to be providing their own description.  One we know about is Minds Eye in Illinois, rebroadcast by IRIS in Iowa.  You can also download the Eclipse Soundscapes app on an iOS or Android smartphone to hear description by WGBH Media Access and utilize a special "rumble map."  The app says it will geolocate you and start description at the appropriate time.