Public Broadcaster WGBH Forms Media Access Group The Only Organization In The World To Offer Both Captioning And Description Services

April 19, 2001

Boston, MA (April 18, 2001) — Boston-based public broadcaster WGBH announces the recent formation of the Media Access Group at WGBH to serve deaf and hard-of-hearing, blind and visually impaired communities, which represent a combined audience of 34 million Americans. Media Access Group is the only organization in the world to offer both captioning and description services. The new unit consolidates WGBH’s two non-profit access service departments — The Caption Center, the world’s first captioning agency, founded in 1972 to make television, film and video accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers, and Descriptive Video Service (DVS), which has made these forms of media more accessible to blind and visually impaired audiences since 1990 — and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), a research and development entity that works to make existing and emerging technologies more accessible.

The Media Access Group’s mission is to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences with equal access to media for the purposes of education, entertainment, communication and the procurement of information. Having pioneered and delivered accessible media to disabled adults and students and their families, teachers and friends for almost 30 years, the Group continues to develop new means of access each year. Members of its collective staff represent the leading experts in each of their fields, while the success of their various initiatives is exemplified by a solid history of accomplishments and continuous growth, the integration of their innovative products and services into society at large and the enthusiastic support they receive from deaf and blind organizations.

“New technologies continue to revolutionize the way we receive information and entertainment, and the dedicated members of the Media Access Group at WGBH continue to work hard to ensure that all Americans have access to the media that shapes our lives,” says WGBH President Henry Becton. “Their groundbreaking work in the area of media access is a natural evolution of WGBH’s role as a public broadcasting leader.”

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the Media Access Group also has offices in New York and Los Angeles, California, enabling it to provide convenient local service to its various constituents in the media industries and, ultimately, to ensure universal access for hearing- and visually impaired communities both nation- and worldwide. To meet the increasing needs of the Group’s entertainment industry clients, the expanded, full-service Los Angeles office offers fast-turnaround captioning (Time-Coded Roll-Up Captioning) through The Caption Center, description services through DVS West, the combined service of MoPix (theatrical movie access), and other access services on a local basis.

“We’re very proud to be the only organization to offer both captioning and description to clients and to do so on each coast,” says Larry Goldberg, Director of the Media Access Group at WGBH. “Our comprehensive resources and experience – and the wonderful support and feedback we receive from deaf and blind organizations – enable us to pioneer new technologies and make equal access to media a reality for all audiences.”

The Media Access Group is a division of Boston’s WGBH Educational Foundation, America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer. WGBH produces more than one-third of PBS’s prime-time lineup and companion Web content, as well as many public radio favorites, and is home to three public television stations and three public radio stations in Massachusetts. The station also is a pioneer in educational multimedia and in access technologies for people with disabilities. For more information, visit

Contact: Mary Watkins,
Media Access Group at WGBH

617 300-3700 v/fax, -2489 TTY