DAYTON — Thanks to a Greenlight Grant from the Dayton Foundation, Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley’s (GESMV) Radio Reading Service, a service that broadcasts readings of local and regional newspapers, magazines, books and other printed information to people with visual disabilities and other physical or mental impairments, can now stream daily broadcasts to listeners unable to read printed materials.
“With these funds we were able to purchase the equipment and software and subcontract technical personnel to install and build applications for streaming, in addition to covering hosting fees,” said Shelly Hulce, supervisor of the GESMV Radio Reading Service, which broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Previously, these broadcasts could be heard through the use of a free, specialized radio, but geography limited the reach of the radio and bad weather could impede the signal.
Now individuals who cannot access printed materials only need an Internet connection to be able to hear information that helps them stay connected to important events in their community, know where to shop for the latest deals, and listen to obituaries of lost loved ones. With devices like Google Home and the Echo listening is even easier, allowing listeners to voice activate the Radio Reading Service.
For individuals with low vision, or for those who are blind, staying connected to the community is vital to prevent feelings of isolation.
“We now have the potential to reach people who don’t live within our signal area,” Hulce said. “Now that we’re online and people can pick it up anywhere, we’ll expand our local programming a little bit.”
Hulce cites listeners tuning in online from Florida, New York, and Montana and suspects that these individuals may have had to move in with a loved one who lives out of the region, but are still able to stay connected to their hometown.
To listen online, visit gesmv.org, find the “Community Programs” tab, select “Specialty Programs,” scroll down to “Radio Reading Service” and click the listen button.