The City of Champaign is pleased to announce that all new City-produced programming, including City Council, Boards and Commissions, and scripted programs, are now available with closed captions. Closed captioning is the process of displaying the audio portion of a video program on screen, which can improve the accessibility and comprehension of the programming’s content by viewers. All City-produced content, including live meetings and video recordings, are now telecast and streamed online with closed captions available to anyone who chooses to use them.
“I’m very excited that the City is able to offer this great new service to our residents,” said Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen. “Providing closed captions has been a goal of mine for some time and I’m pleased we can now offer them to those who watch City meetings on cable television or online. Making the deliberations of our City government more accessible is very important and I’m proud that Champaign is a leader in offering this great new service to our residents.”
The City provides automated closed captioning of live meetings and other video programs telecast on Champaign Government Television or live streamed on our website (champaignil.gov/cgtv). The City also provides closed captions for all on-demand video published on our website since the beginning of the year. Closed captions are created automatically by utilizing artificial intelligence software similar to that used in phones and other smart products.
Communications Manager Jeff Hamilton said, “Offering closed captions for the City’s televised meetings has been a priority for some time, and the technological advancements made in this area over the last few years have been amazing. It’s important that our viewers realize that the software isn’t perfect, and some mistakes should be expected. After checking with other government access channels across Illinois, I’m proud to say that Champaign will be among the very first in the state to offer closed captioning for all our televised and live streamed City meetings.”
Kerry Lowry, Deaf Services Coordinator for PACE, Inc. Center for Independent Living added, “We believe that these closed captions will be beneficial to many people in our community. They’ll make the city’s televised meetings more accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing communities, as well as for many other populations of people with and without disabilities. PACE, Inc. was delighted to collaborate with the City of Champaign on these accessibility efforts, and we are grateful that they were so receptive to our feedback.”