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DVS® Guide

Fall 2000
Volume 11, Issue 3

FCC Mandates Use of Described Programming and Accessible Emergency Announcements
In conjunction with a national celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (enacted July 26,1990), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took big steps to increase the accessibility of television to persons who are blind or visually impaired.

On July 21, 2000, the FCC voted to mandate the provision of described programming on TV stations (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC affiliates) in the top 25 major markets, effective between April and June 2002. The new rule requires participating broadcasters to provide a minimum of 50 hours of described prime-time and/or children's programming per calendar quarter, which is approximately 4 hours per week. Multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPDs) -- such as satellite and cable systems -- with at least 50,000 subscribers will follow the same guidelines for each of the top five national non-broadcast networks they carry. PBS stations already air approximately 10 hours of described programming per week -- using DVS® technology created by WGBH -- and are exempt from the new rule.

Incorporated into the rule is the mandatory broadcast of accessible emergency announcements (e.g., storm warnings) by all TV stations and MVPDs that typically provide local emergency information. This requires that the crucial details of emergency announcements be made accessible to those living within the affected local area who are blind or visually impaired, effective 60 days after the rule is published. The full Report & Order (FCC #00-258) is available on the FCC Web site at

Letter from the Director
As most of you already know, the summer of 2000 was an important one for DVS and for all those with an interest in accessibility. And in case you don't know, let me be the first to share the reasons!

On July 21st, the Federal Communications Commission approved a mandate requiring video description on more prime-time and children's programming. Beginning in Spring 2002, consumers will see a big increase in the number of hours of described programming on TV and will also enjoy a wider range of viewing choices.

Just days later, the American with Disabilities Act celebrated its 10th anniversary, and we at DVS were lucky enough to participate. As part of the anniversary festivities, the "Spirit of the ADA" Torch Relay came through Boston, stopping here at WGBH. Larry Goldberg, director of the Media Access Group at WGBH, spoke about the ADA's impact on the work done at WGBH. Heidi Reed, executive director of Deaf Inc., Brian Charlson, vice president of the American Council of the Blind, and Jonathan Young, White House liaison, each gave moving testimony about what the ADA means to them. DVS was proud to make the WGBH stop accessible to our blind and visually impaired guests with help from Bryan Gould, who provided live description of the event -- from the police motorcycle escort to the motorcade of white vans and cars to the torch itself. It was an exciting and significant moment for everyone who took part.

While the ADA is celebrating its 10th anniversary, DVS is celebrating as well. Recently, DVS was honored by the American Council of the Blind with a special certificate of recognition for its ten years of service. Former DVS staffer Laura Oftedahl, who helped build and grow DVS over the past ten years, joined me in accepting the certificate, which recognizes "the pioneering efforts made by WGBH in Boston, MA, to make Descriptive Video Service® a reality on television, on videotape and in movie theatres." I want to say a special thank you to all the ACB members who have supported DVS throughout the years. It was great meeting so many of you at the convention.

As you can tell, 2000 has been a banner year so far -- and it's not over yet! So, on behalf of all of us at Descriptive Video Service, best wishes for a happy, healthy fall and a joyful holiday season!

Lori Kay
WGBH Media Access Group/Services

DVS Highlights

A New Umbrella for DVS
Descriptive Video Service, which has made television, film and video more
accessible to blind and visually impaired audiences since 1990, is now part of the Media Access Group at WGBH. This newly named "umbrella" also includes
The Caption Center, the world's first captioning agency (founded in 1972),
and the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM),
a research and development facility that builds on the success of WGBH's access service departments to make existing and emerging technologies more accessible. While the three entities -- DVS, The Caption Center and NCAM -- will co-exist as parts of the larger the Media Access Group, they will maintain their existing designations and separate identities.

The staffs of the Media Access Group represent the leading resources and experts in each of their fields, while the success of their various initiatives and services is exemplified by a solid history of accomplishments and continued growth, as well as by the fact that much of what they have developed has been integrated into society at large. DVS is proud to be part of the Media Access Group at WGBH and looks forward to joining The Caption Center and NCAM in collective success for years to come.

Nancy Kerrigan Golf Event Benefits DVS
On September 10th and 11th, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was joined by celebrities from the worlds of golf, skating, ice hockey and entertainment for the Nancy Kerrigan Pro-Celebrity Golf Classic, presented as a charity event by Champions on Ice. Proceeds from the event were shared by Descriptive Video Service, the Lions' Club, and other charities for the blind in honor of Nancy's mother, Brenda Kerrigan, a visually impaired Massachusetts resident. Highlights from the event, which took place at the Sheraton Ferncroft Hotel and Resort in Danvers, Massachusetts, aired as a TV special -- with description and captions -- on Fox Sports New England.

Turner Classic Movies
Did you know that the Turner Classic Movie Network has more than 75 described films in rotation? From Casablanca to the Santa Fe Trail, The Hunchback of Notre Dame to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, TCM opens up the world of film through description, available every time one of these movies airs, as well as during the DVS Showcase every Sunday night at 6pm. For a complete listing of films described on the TCM network, you can also call the DVS Information Line at 1-800-333-1203.

ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre Presents
In October, don't miss a new adaptation of Oliver Twist, one of Charles Dickens' best-loved novels. The three-part ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre presentation -- which will be described -- tells the classic tale of a young orphan who escapes from the workhouse and begins to keep company with a gang of thieves. Featuring a secret will, a villainous half brother and a prostitute with a heart of gold, the story opens with a prequel dramatizing the background of Dickens' elaborate plot. The three 120-minute episodes air on October 8th, 15th and 22nd at 9pm on PBS, except in Atlanta, Cleveland, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and San Diego, where the series airs on October 9th, 16th and 23rd at 9pm.

Holiday Releases on DVS Home VideoS®
Just in time for the 2000 holiday gift-buying season, DVS Home Video® offers some exciting new releases. Swing through the jungle with Tarzan, Walt Disney's animated family hit, featuring the Oscar-winning Phil Collins song, "You'll Be in My Heart." Experience The Sixth Sense, the multiple Oscar nominee and highest-grossing horror/suspense film of all time, starring Bruce Willis and 12-year-old Haley Joel Osment. Travel back in time with the romantic and amusing Shakespeare in Love, winner of multiple Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench). Embrace the optimism of Life Is Beautiful, Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor (Roberto Benigni) and the first dubbed film to use the voices of the original actors. Laugh out loud with Mrs. Doubtfire, the comedy crowd-pleaser starring Robin Williams as a man turned British housekeeper and Sally Field as her employer (and his former wife).

How to Receive DVS on Television
To receive DVS on television, a viewer must have either a stereo TV or VCR with the Second Audio Program (S.A.P.), standard on most newer stereo TVs and VCRs or a stand-alone S.A.P. receiver. To hear the narrated visual descriptions via your stereo TV or VCR, simply activate its S.A.P. feature. To locate the S.A.P. feature, consult the TVs or VCRs owner's manual or call the manufacturer. A S.A.P. receiver is a device which is able to tune in a channel, similar to a radio, that carries the descriptions.
It can be used alongside a TV or alone as audio only. S.A.P. receivers are available either pre-tuned or adjustable. The following manufacturers produce S.A.P. receivers: Compol, Inc. 1-800-972-0881; Avocet Instruments, Inc. 1-800-443-0728; and FM Atlas 218-879-7676.

PBS Schedule
The following is the DVS broadcast schedule for October through December on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Some public television stations may have different schedules, so be sure to check your local listings.

PBS programs scheduled to air with DVS are subject to change. For updates of the PBS broadcast schedule with DVS call toll-free on your touch-tone phone, the DVS Information line, 1-800-333-1203. The broadcast schedule is also available on the Internet. E-mail us with your comments at:

American Experience
10/16, 10/23, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 11/27, 12/18, (60 minutes). The episode on 10/16 is 90 minutes. The episodes
on 10/23 and 11/13 are 120 minutes.
The episode on 11/20 is 150 minutes.

every weekday and Sunday, (30 minutes)

Arthur's Perfect Christmas
11/23, (60 mintues)

Between The Lions
every weekday and Sunday, (30 minutes)

Building Big
10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31,
(60 minutes)

Exxon Mobil Masterpiece Theatre
10/8, 10/15, 10/22, 11/5, 11/12, 11/19, (120 minutes). The episode on 11/19 is 90 minutes.

Exxon Mobil Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection
10/25, (120 minutes)

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
weekdays 10/16-10/20, 10/30-11/3, 11/13-11/17, 12/4-12/22, (30 minutes)

every Thursday except 12/7, (60 minutes)

every Sunday, (60 minutes). There will be two 60-minute episodes back to back on 10/1.

every Tuesday beginning 10/24, (60 minutes)

Scientific American Frontiers
11/21, 11/28, 12/19, (60 minutes)


every weekday and Sunday, (30 minutes)

every weekday and Sunday, (30 minutes)

Large Format Theater Schedule
The following is the large format theater movie schedule with video descriptions for October through December. For speciŪc dates and times the films will be showing with description, please call the theater nearest you. If your local large format theater is not listed in the schedule, let them know that you would like to see movies with DVS at their theater.

Langley Theater, Smithsonian Institution/National Air and Space Museum
Washington, DC
(202) 357-1675
Cosmic Voyage, To Fly!, Mission To Mir, Michael Jordan: To The Max

Entergy IMAX® Theater, Aquarium of the Americas
New Orleans, LA
(504) 581-4629
Dolphins, Mysteries of Egypt, Michael Jordan: To The Max

Mugar OMNI Theater, Museum of Science
Boston, MA
(617) 723-2500
The Magic of Flight, Africa: The Serengeti

Wortham IMAX® Theater, Houston Museum of Natural Science
Houston, TX
(713) 639-4705
No described titles scheduled at this time.

Laurence Phipps Theater, Denver Museum of Natural History
Denver, CO
(303) 370-6322
Dolphins, Migrations: The Epic Journey

Tennessee Aquarium IMAX® Theater
Chattanooga, TN
(800) 262-0695
The Nutcracker, T Rex, Dolphins, Mysteries of Egypt

DVS Theatrical
The following is a listing of conventional movie theaters with video description. For specific titles that are described and for speciŪc dates and times the films will be showing, please call the theater nearest you. If your local theater is not listed here, let them know that you would like to see movies with DVS at their theater.

General Cinema Sherman Oaks
Cinema 2
(near Los Angeles)
4500 Van Nuys Boulevard
Sherman Oaks
(818) 986-9660 or (818) 986-3078

General Cinema Parkway Pointe
Cinema 7
3101 Cobb Parkway, S.E.
(770) 937-0730

General Cinema Yorktown/Lombard
Cinema 7
(near Chicago)
80 Yorktown Center
(630) 495-0012

General Cinema City North
2600 North Western Avenue
(773) 394-1600

General Cinema Owings Mills
Cinema 8
(near Baltimore)
10100 Mill Run Circle
Owings Mills
(443) 394-0060

General Cinema Framingham 14
Cinema 12
22 Flutie Pass
Framingham, MA
(508) 875-6151

General Cinema Fenway
201 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA
(617) 875-6151

New Jersey
General Cinema Clifton Commons/Clifton Cinema 1
(near New York City)
405 Route 3 East
(973) 614-0966

New York
General Cinema Bay Plaza
2210 Barton Avenue
(718) 320-1659

General Cinema Plymouth Meeting Cinema 9
(near Philadelphia)
500 Germantown Pike
(outside of Plymouth Meeting Mall)
Plymouth Meeting
(610) 397-0780

Cinerama Theater
(a General Cinema operated facility)
2100 Fourth Avenue
(206) 441-3080

General Cinema Pacific Place
Cinema 3
600 Pine Street
(206) 652-8908

General Cinema Mayfair Mall
(near Milwaukee)
2500 North Mayfair Road
(414) 777-0467

DVS Funders
We extend our sincere thanks to the many corporations, foundations, organizations and viewers who have supported DVS during the
past year.

Inaugural Circle
General Motors
NEC Foundation of America
George B. Storer Foundation

National Endowment for the Arts
U.S. Department of Education

Additional Supporters
American Council of the Blind of Ohio
American Express Foundation
American Legion Child Welfare Foundation
Eberhard & Pat Ax
J. Walton Bissell Foundation
The Boston Foundation
The Boston Globe Foundation
John Demetralis
Des Moines Chapter, Iowa Council of the United Blind
Arlene Gordon
GTE Corporation
The George Gund Foundation
Gilbert H. Hood Family Fund
William F. Paul
The Pearle Vision Foundation
Reader's Digest Fund for the Blind
George & Eleanor Shearing
Irving M. Shepard, III
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Jo Taliaferro
E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation
for the Blind

Major funding for Descriptive Video Service is provided by
the U.S. Department of Education. Cooperative agreements:
H026C70004, H026C70005, H026C70007, H327C980003

This guide is also available in Braille, on audio via the DVS Information Line, 1-800-333-1203. To contact us directly you may call our NEW DIRECT LINE at (617) 300-3600.


Caption Services Description Services NCAM