Radio reading services

Radio reading serviceWhen I started this blog, I’d never heard of radio reading services. They popped up in my research for reading alternatives for my father-in-law who has macular degeneration.

Volunteers read newspapers and magazines for the blind and vision-impaired in these community-based reading services. When the services first started in the late 1960s, they were broadcast over radio stations’ subcarrier channels. Special receivers permanently tuned to the stations were required to listen. Over the years other delivery options have emerged including telephone, television, internet streaming, podcasts, and smart phone apps.

Radio reading services are offered by a variety of local organizations including public radio stations, public libraries, universities, and faith-based groups. I found 35 of these services in the United States; there could be more.

Programming varies from one radio reading service to the next, but they usually offer 24/7 service. The Georgia Radio Reading Service program schedule is fairly typical with readings from a mix of national and local newspapers, magazines, and books.

Because much of the reading material is copyrighted, most radio reading services require that potential users complete an application to receive the service. If you’d like to sample a service, no application is required to listen to Tri-States Audio Information Services’ internet stream.

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