Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Massachusetts Reading Network

 I caught a short ID on WLLO around 2:00 AM and was surprised to hear that there was not a reading program but a reading network program which had been operating under my nose for years. After this ID they proceeded to read the highlights from the Boston Herald Newspaper .

TIC Network ID

The Talking Information Center turns out to be an award winning radio reading service. They broadcasts the reading of printed materials over a network of numerous affiliates including both radio and cable TV. Their programming runs 24/7. As I've noted in a previous post, reading services for the blind are few.

The network began in 1977, on 95.9 WATD-FM  under the watch of Ed Perry.  Knowing there were no reading services station in his area, Ed donated his SCA signal for that use. Ron Bersani, a teacher at Marshfield High School helped start the program. Their own biography summarizes these humble beginnings.
"TIC began broadcasting June 19, 1978 from a tiny third floor room at WATD with two borrowed microphones, a beat up cassette deck and an old reel-to-reel recorder. Broadcasts consisted of four hours daily, Monday through Friday."
 While no longer part of the network today, they remain a great oldies station on par with WVLT. Three primary affiliates make up the network today:
  • 1530 WVBF-AM
  • 104.3 WRRS-LPFM
  • 102.9 WLLO-LPFM

WRRS-LPFM is owned by the Berkshire Benevolent Association For the Blind, Inc.which is operated by TIC. WVBF-AM is actually owned by Rhode Island Public Radio engineer Steve Callahan.  It signed on in 1981 as WCEG-AM, but was off air by 1988 and was subsequently deleted in 1991 under the ownership of Middleborough Broadcasters.In 1992 it was re-licensed as WVBF-AM under Callahan.WLLO-LPFM is owned and operated by Londonderry highschool. They aren't listed on the TIC website but that's where I clipped the ID so I am certain they are affiliated. They signed on in 2004 and are also carried on their local cable TV network.