Sunday, September 02, 2007

Our First Broadcast Was September 2, 1974

About a dozen other radio stations were also carrying radio reading services, but the audio was encoded into their signals and you needed a special $75 receiver to hear anything. You also had to qualify as impaired and some didn’t want to "come out of the closet." Some people never qualified: they were just elderly and pretty much homebound. The vast majority of those who needed this sort of service would never get it.

Until we came on the scene. Or, at least, came on the radio – anybody’s FM radio at ten in the morning. Nobody had to qualify, you didn’t need to be visually impaired; if you had difficulty reading, or were homebound, or just lonely, there we were at 88.5 on the dial, every day of the year.

“Are you on weekends?” someone asked. “They’re blind on weekends,” I said. “How about Christmas and New Year’s?” “They’re blind then, too,” I replied; “any day they’re blind, we’re on the air."

We don’t have many rules and I’m not sure what they are. We don’t stop in case there is a mistake; we are visitors, by radio, in their homes (thus, Radio Home Visitor) and people dropping by to read parts of the paper will make mistakes. Just today, I forgot to turn off the ringer on the phone and someone called. I answered and it turned out to be a staff member on her way in. We just kept going; it’s not the NBC Nightly News, nor is it supposed to be. We’re friends visiting your home.

3 Comments:

Anonymous maddrummer said...

Congratulations Tom!

I remember meeting people who listened just because they liked it. You always set up such a nice atmosphere and it came through the speakers.

No one can appreciate the time, energy, and commitment to keep something going for so long. I think Pat Fadden shares this sentiment too.

September 02, 2007 7:49 PM  
Blogger David Yonki said...

Father Tom: Congrats on another year of commitment and quality. You're more than NBC Nughtly News, you're a lifeline to those visually handicapped who have relied on this broadcast for years. You personify what the meaning of true community broadcasting is. A salute and thank you.
David Yonki

September 02, 2007 8:36 PM  
Blogger Carole Ann said...

Learning from you and working on that program was one of the highlights of my time at King’s. Not only did it introduce me to the skills I needed to work at “the wreck,” but subtly, it also taught me about compassion, service, giving – doing for others. The program is a blessing to those who listen and those who have the good fortune to work with you on it. (It was really, really fun too!) Thanks!!

September 04, 2007 11:25 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home