Acast celebrates Disability History Month: Making podcasting even more accessible

Acast celebrates Disability History Month: Making podcasting even more accessible

Written by Aleena AugustinePartner Manager2022.11.22

I first heard Sinead Burke interviewing Billie Eilish and her producer-brother Finneas for the Vanity Fair podcast Little Gold Men.’ The pair were on the ‘No Time to Die’ press junket ahead of the 94th Academy Awards when the three discussed everything from fashion to music, to being an influential young person in the public eye. 

What left an impression on me was the effort made by Sinead to make the interview more accessible for blind or low-vision people participating in the audio format through visual descriptions. Before the interview began, Sinead encouraged the siblings to describe their visual characteristics like gender identity, ethnicity, hair, height, eye color, and what they were wearing. This is one of the many initiatives Sinead has championed to combat inaccessibility in fashion and digital media, and this specific initiative resonated with me as it helps makes the podcast listening experience more inclusive.

Up until this point, I admit I hadn’t given much thought to how podcasting may or may not be accessible. Reflecting on this, the likely reason is that I am not disabled, so Sinead’s interview and her work to increase accessibility was a lightning bolt moment that made me realize that there are opportunities for podcasting to embrace more equality and accessibility. Although podcasts are primarily audio-only, it’s increasingly becoming more visual with video podcasts and promo clips being shared across social media. Not to mention podcast artwork that often gives an insight into what the show’s about or what the hosts look like —  many of these aspects aren’t easily accessible to visually impaired listeners.

This UK Disability History Month, Acast is encouraging our creators to insert a dynamic audio clip across all their episodes with a visual description of themselves, providing a visual experience to all those listening. Starting things off, we’ve had the likes of Katherine Ryan from Telling Everybody Everything, Dane Baptiste and Howard Cohen from Questions Everything, and Pete Donaldson from Football Ramble, all sharing their visual description. We hope this acts as a launchpad to inspire more creators to participate, and continue even once the month is over. 

If you are a podcaster and would like to also add a visual description to your episodes, listen to an example below.