Are there technological solutions that would allow Rush Limbaugh to continue doing his hugely successful syndicated radio program?
One company may have something to offer. Rapid Text, located in Newport Beach, Calif., has both software and personnel to transform spoken words into on-screen text nearly instantaneously. Here's how it would work for Rush Limbaugh, as explained by Rapid Text President Glory Johnson:
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A caller calls the show, his or her words are heard by a "transcriptionist" monitoring the show in a remote location, who converts those words into phonetic components of those words, just as a court reporter does, on a stenographic machine. This is much faster, as anyone familiar with court transcriptions knows, than typing each letter of each word, which is what Limbaugh's board operator is reportedly doing now.
These phonetic packages are then, by special software, electronically converted into whole typed words that would pop up on Rush's screen in front of him.
The elapsed time between the speaking of a word and appearing on Limbaugh's screen would be 2.5, at most 3.5 seconds. Given the fact that most callers make clear their comment or question immediately and then go on to say a few more words or even sentences, Rush Limbaugh would be able to have his answer ready before the caller is even done talking. A radio listener would never notice a lag.
This same technology is precisely how live television events are able to have nearly simultaneous closed-captioning.