On October 16th 1990, the CRTC approved applications by The National Broadcast Reading Service Inc. (NBRS) and La Magnétothèque for licences to carry on national audio programming network operations in English and in French respectively to provide, via satellite, programming of benefit to persons who were blind, visually impaired or print handicapped due to physical reasons

These services, which would be available on a 24-hour basis every day, were to be distributed by cable television licensees as background audio on alphanumeric channels, or as audio services on audio channels of their undertakings, or rebroadcast on Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operation (SCMO) channels by FM radio licensees.

The Commission would issue licences expiring 31 August 1995, subject to the conditions specified in the decision and in the licences to be issued.  In making this announcement, the Commission stated: “These networks, similar but not identical in content, will provide an ‘audio newsstand’ of news, public affairs and information of general interest to their intended audiences. As a result of this approval, many people across the country will benefit from the convenience and the ready access these services will provide to information contained in print material. The Commission looks forward with interest to the contribution of these services to the lives of underserved Canadians”.

In 2001 VoicePrint was licensed by the CRTC as a “must-carry” service, which meant that all digital cable and satellite providers were obliged to carry the service. through digital cable. AMI-audio was accessed largely on the secondary audio program (SAP) of the CBC’s News Network, while some providers carried the service on a separate channel through digital cable. 

On July 24th 2007 the CRTC announced that NBRS  had been awarded a licence for a new cable and satellite specialty channel to be called The Accessible Channel (TAC) (q.v.). This would offer a 100% open format DV service providing various types of programming to blind and visually impaired Canadians.

Coincident with the launching of the new specialty channel in January 2009, NBRS changed its name to Access Media Inc (AMI). On January 30, 2012,TAC was renamed AMI-tv, and on March 5th of the same year VoicePrint was renamed AMI-audio. 

Start Year: 1990