Thursday, June 09, 2005

Reading Services for the Blind

Braille was invented in 1816 by Charles Barbier. Several improvements were made to the language by Louis Braille including the addition of Musical notaitons in 1821. Braille allowed the blind to read books, magazines and newspapers. But radio made innovations to serve them as well. but with the growing popularity of books-on-tape how long will this novel public service last?

*Currently the FCC actually requires hat one SCA [Subsidiary Communications Authorization] channel in a community (not necessarily on an NCE station) had to be kept for a radio reading service for the visually impaired. http://reader.ku.edu/oldsite/scatech.htm#sca

The first two on this list offer Radio Reading Services as a primary service. The rest as a secondary sideband service that requires a special radio. Other services as noted.

WYPL 89.3 Memphis, TN
http://www.memphislibrary.org/wypl/index.html
The West Memphis Public Library started this station as a closed circuit service reading for the blind. In the beginning, the Memphis Lions Clubs bought specially made radios for visually impaired individuals. By the mid-1980s, there were about 11,000 listeners and 4,000 on the waiting list for the special radio that only carried the service. These days they reach about 2.4 million homes.

WRBH 88.3 New Orleans, LA
http://www.gnofn.org/~wrbh/
On September 12, 1982, WRBH signed on the air. since then they have been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including being named the 257th Point of Light by President George Bush in 1990.

WWNO 89.9 New Orleans, LA
http://www.wwno.org/
Began offering a reading service on their side band in the 1970s with help from Robert T. McLean. The same Dr. Mclean went on to found WRBH.

WLRN 91.3 Miami, FL
The only reading service for the blind in South Florida and airs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
http://www.wlrn.org/rrs/

KDPS 88.1 Des Moines, IA
http://www.kdpsradio.com/
Iowa Commission for the Blind established a reading service in the 70s.
The service may now be defunct.

WVIA 100.3 Scranton, PA
The estemed Pell reading service launched in 1981. It is supported by a grant foundation of the same name. http://www.wvia.org/resources/prrs.html

WDET 101.9 Detroit, MI
http://www.wdetfm.org/dris/index.php
The Detroit Radio Information Service, a radio-reading service for people with disabilities. Provided by Wayne State University.

WTEB 89.3 New Bern, NC
This reading service is receivable by either sub-channel radios which are loaned free to qualifying individuals, or by televisions which have second audio capability.
http://www.wteb.org/blind.asp

KNOW 91.1 Minneapolis, MN
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/radio/stations/knowksjn/
This may be well the first one adding the service possibly as early as 1969. Reports indicate it may currently be suffering from interference likely caused by a translator on 90.7. The repeater runs christian K-love branded programming via satillite....

WIGH 88.7 Lexington, Tennessee
(no info)