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September 27, 2004

KWWL Now Has Real-Time Closed Captioning

From: KWWL, IA - Sep 27, 2004

KWWL is the first television station in eastern Iowa to provide real time closed captioning of our news.

"Real time" means every time the anchors or reporters or meteorologists say something, you will see it on closed captioning. It makes a huge difference for our hearing impaired viewers.

Jessica Olsen Dunbar cannot hear, but she is an expert communicator. She says, "First of all, it's great we have the weather closed captioned. For many years, we didn't have the weather closed captioned and we used to have to guess. Quite often, I would ask my husband Steve, 'Did you catch what was going on with the weather?'"

Jessica spoke to KWWL for this story through her interpreter Kim Kischer-Larson. Steve is her husband who is also hearing impaired. The news has been closed captioned for years, but the real time closed captioning translates the news as it's happening, including the forecast, which is never scripted.

Jessica and Steve say being able to understand the forecast might be a lifesaver for them someday with severe weather. "It's really important we have access to that," Jessica says.

KWWL General Manager Dale Woods says, "I think it's our commitment to provide the community with technology and here we had the ability to have real time closed captioning."

Court reporters use stenographs to translate testimony in the court room. And the closed captioning you see on your television screen is translated in much the same way. KWWLl is the first station in eastern Iowa to provide closed captioning.

"Finally, deaf people can have equal access to the services and activities that are available to the general public," Jessica says.

It's a service thousands of hearing impaired people can now tap into everyday. Right now, only the KWWL news at six and the the KWWL news at ten will have real time closed captioning.

Kwwl General Manager Dale Woods says he hopes to expand that to other newscasts on Iowa's News Channel after the first of the year.

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