CBC Television Network


Network: Specialty Channel

Broadcast Medium: Television

In 2006 The National Broadcast Reading Service (NBRS) , operator of the Voice Print audio program service, was one of twelve applicants who responded to a CRTC invitation for interested parties to apply for a licence for a speciality cable/satellite channel that would be accorded mandatory carriage status because of the nature of its proposed service to Canadians. In addition to new applicants, providers of existing speciality services could apply for reclassification to mandatory carriage. 

   Among the specifications expected of the new licensee would be that the new channel would foster the growth of Canada’s cultural, social, economic and political aims, would be varied and comprehensive, providing a balance of information and entertainment programming, at an affordable cost, would be drawn from local, regional, national and international sources, would include educational and community programs,  and would reflect and contribute to Canada’s linguistic duality and ethno-cultural diversity, including the special place of Aboriginal peoples in Canadian society.

One key element in the National Broadcast Reading Service’s application was that it undertook that the proposed service would provide 100% of its programming in described video format. This programming would consist of news, information, drama, entertainment, and other television programming targeted to blind, and vision impaired Canadians. It was intended that the channel would be named the Accessible Channel.

On July 24th 2007 the CRTC announced that the licence had been awarded to NBRS.  In announcing its decision, the commission stated, in part:

“Given that The Accessible Channel would offer a 100% open format DV service providing various types of programming to blind and visually impaired Canadians, the Commission considers that the programming proposed by NBRS would offer an immediate and fully accessible means by which the objective set out in section 3(1)(p) of the Act can be fulfilled. Therefore, in the Commission’s view, The Accessible Channel would be of exceptional importance to fulfilling the objectives of the Act.

The Accessible Channel (TAC)  launched on January 29th 2009, and included closed captioning on all its programs in addition to the promised described video.  In 2010, NBRS was renamed Accessible Media Inc (AMI), and on January 30th 2012 The Accessibility Channel was renamed AMI-tv. (On March 5th 2012, Voice-Print became AMI-audio).

Written by Pip Wedge – February, 2014