WISH Granted: More Captioning Possibilities


Circle City Broadcasting has gained notice across the U.S. thanks to its owner, African American owner and CEO DuJuan McCoy. Its two stations include the CW Network affiliate serving Indianapolis.

Now, that station has figured out how to close-caption its content while being budget-minded in its selection process. In the end, WISH-8 went with ENCO.

As such, the station has begun to use the automated enCaption4 system from ENCO to meet its both its scheduled and late-breaking captioning needs.

Prior to adopting enCaption4, all of WISH-8’s closed captioning was done by human transcribers through a service company that would dial in to the station’s caption encoders. The huge amount of local news content WISH-TV produces – up to 12 hours per day – required a lot of dial-ins. With the rates charged by such services, the broadcaster’s captioning costs were very high.

“Our main goal wasn’t necessarily to save money, but more importantly to allow us to caption a greater majority of our content in a more cost-effective manner,” said Mike Selby, a staff engineer at WISH-8.

Selby had looked at automated speech-to-text technologies around eight years earlier but didn’t consider their accuracy good enough at the time. WISH-8 Chief Engineer Glenn Edwards kept following automated captioning technology. After reading a favorable review of ENCO’s enCaption4 system, the station took a closer look.

“We saw that enCaption4 would allow us to caption more of our programs for less money than we were paying for dial-in captioning, so we requested a demo unit for a trial,” Selby said. “It worked right out of the box and we were impressed with its accuracy.”

The station first used enCaption4 on the locally produced TV version of nationally syndicated radio program The Bob & Tom Show. It started airing on WNDY in October. Since then, they have expanded their use of enCaption4 across both WISH and co-owned sibling WNDY-23 in Indianapolis.

ENCO’s enCaption4 REST API gave WISH-8 the flexibility to set up their captioning operations exactly the way they desired and the ability to control enCaption4 through their own custom software.

“Our IT developer created an application that runs on a Raspberry Pi platform and enables us to easily start and stop the captioning process,” Selby said. “Our homebrew software also uses GPIOs on the Raspberry Pi to trigger the switching of our AJA KUMO router to the desired SDI source for our enCaption4 system, and to connect enCaption4 to the appropriate downstream caption encoder. In this manner, we can use our single enCaption4 system on our choice of the WISH, WNDY or control room signals.”

Most significantly, enCaption4 has enabled the broadcaster to expand its closed captioning to nearly all of its content.

“Having a machine that can handle all of our captioning needs is like a dream come true,” Selby said. “I’m impressed with how far the technology has come over the years. We had long hoped that someone would offer speech-to-text capabilities that work accurately enough for our on-air needs, so we could just hit a button and have it work.”

— Brian Galante