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CBS' Stevie Wonder Special to Air with Video Description for Visually Impaired


CBS announced today that the Network's Stevie Wonder primetime special will be broadcast with video description, making it accessible to the blind and visually impaired audience. STEVIE WONDER: SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE - AN ALL-STAR GRAMMY SALUTE, a primetime entertainment special celebrating the iconic songbook and remarkable legacy of the 25-time GRAMMY Award winner, will be broadcast Monday, Feb. 16 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The two-hour special will be presented by The Recording Academy, AEG Ehrlich Ventures and CBS.

Video description is the insertion of audio narrated descriptions of a television program's key visual elements into natural pauses in the program's dialogue, which makes video programming more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

CBS has provided video description for almost 13 consecutive years. In April 2002, the Network began providing video description for an average of 50 hours of programming per calendar quarter, or about four hours per week. Then, for almost a 10-year period (October 2002 to January 2012), before FCC regulations were reinstated, CBS provided the service on a voluntary basis. Since the FCC reinstated the video description regulations in 2012, CBS has voluntarily increased video-described programming to an average of seven-and-a-half hours of video-described programs per week, 87.5% ahead of what's required by the FCC's regulations.

Currently, FCC rules require local TV station affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC located in the top 25 TV markets to provide 50 hours per calendar quarter (about four hours per week) of video-described primetime and/or children's programming. Local TV stations in markets smaller than the top 25 also may provide video description. Check with your local TV stations.

In 2011, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) honored CBS with the AFB Access Award for making television accessible to the blind and visually impaired audience through video description. CBS received AFB's highest honor in 2012 when awarded with the AFB's Helen Keller Achievement Award for the Network's unwavering commitment to video description.

CBS makes video description available on the secondary audio program (SAP) channel for selected programs. Where available, video description can be activated by choosing the SAP option on home equipment set-up menus or remote controls (set-top boxes, televisions, etc.). The service can also sometimes be found under the set-top box or TV audio language menu options as "Spanish." Consumers can consult their equipment manuals or can contact their cable, satellite or fiber television service providers or equipment manufacturer for details on how to activate this feature on their specific equipment.

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