When I Read For The Blind On The Radio

i used to volunteer to read (parts of) the newspaper on a radio station segment for the blind. i don’t know if they still do this or not, but it was a great experience and service.

there were two of us in the booth (we alternated reading). we’d get there an hour before air-time to choose what to read (oftentimes just the highlights: who/what/when/where/why). if a grocery store was having a major sale, we’d let them know about that, too. we tried objectively to choose what we thought should be relayed to them in our one-hour, live, readings. the live sessions were recorded and replayed a couple more times that day/evening. i did this twice a week for over a year, although my booth partner was rarely the same person.

the station manager would give us notes after every session. my only notes were that i needed to stop laughing at the funny articles (pressing the “cough button” to mute my microphone, didn’t always work). i didn’t do it that much, but every so often an article would tickle me 🙂 the blind people who called in liked my humor. they didn’t like, however, that we didn’t read more grocery sales stuff. we only had an hour to fit in all of today’s newspaper articles and inserts, so i’d only pick stuff like “triple coupon day” at winn dixie…or whatever seemed worth the time. any article read about a blind person in the news always got tons of calls.

i can’t recall how many listeners we had, but i remember it was a lot. i went to the center for the blind one time and when i spoke to the lady at the front desk, many heads turned from the people sitting in the big seating area. my voice was instantly recognized. that surprised me, for some reason. at the center, i met a deaf and blind man for the first time (i already new basic american sign language), so we communicated via “tactile” communication. this is where he signed to me and when i responded, i signed back to him but he had to engulf my hands to “read” what i was saying. it was a unique and breathtaking experience for me, all around.

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