Community Outreach

Radio Renewal in the Louisville Listening Areas – A new transmitter, better signal, and lots of meet and greets

by: Lissa Probus, Volunteer

 

Since 2010, Radio Eye has been broadcasting from a subcarrier frequency from a transmitter at WUOL in Louisville. This story from 2010 describes the need in Louisville and features Inam, a Radio Eye volunteer! http://archive.courier-journal.com/article/20101230/NEWS01/312300059/Lexington-radio-station-acts-eyes-Louisville-s-blind . As a listener and volunteer, Inam was one of the first to let us know that our signal was degrading on the broadcast side, and while some listeners can access our broadcast live from the web, the radio signal is very important for our listeners without internet access. Troubleshooting, listener calls, and brainstorming for a solution began.

In 2013, our engineer Doug Collins worked with Amy Hatter, our Executive Director, to find a way to boost the reach of our radio broadcast. The final answer was to find a new transmitter and we are and grateful to be broadcasting now from WFPL. The area covered by the new transmitter is a little better, and the signal will be stronger, but that’s not the end of the story.

A new transmitter means our station is now at a different spot on the dial. So, can everybody just pick it up now? No, because we broadcast on a subcarrier frequency. This means our signal is not received by most radios at all. Radio Eye provides radios that have a special subfrequency receiver, and because their purpose is to support listeners with a disability in reading – visual or motor in the case of muscle control or tracking (tremors from conditions like Parkinson’s can make reading fine print impossible) our radios are pre-tuned to the frequency for the area broadcast. This means listeners in Louisville get new radios! It also means picking up all the old radios and sending them back to New York or New Jersey, depending on the brand of radio.

This is not a one day project. Radios we distribute are delivered in person. The radios are in Lexington, the listeners are in Louisville. Over the rest of the summer, staff and volunteers will be arranging to meet each Louisville listener and exchange each radio, making sure the new one receives our signal and that things are working well. Reaching out to our listeners is one of most rewarding things we do, and we’ve written about delivering radios here on the blog (https://radioeye.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/radio-eye-delivers/ ) in the past. This is a bigger project. We have sent letters out to each listener. We have grouped listeners by area. We will call each one to set up a time we can bring the radio, and call again to be sure they will recognize us when we come. We will be following up with each listener to be sure the signal is strong.

We hope the improved signal will encourage new listeners in the Louisville area. We know that for many, our signal means more than just access to information. This change is a good one. We appreciate all of the people who have stepped up to this challenge, WFPL for welcoming us, and the patience of our Louisville listeners most of all.

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Development

Linda Neville, a Donor Profile and some Kentucky History

by: Lissa Probus, Volunteer

Often at Radio Eye, we profile both donors and volunteers as a way of building our community. It is a way to share the work of others that makes our work possible and also recognizes the efforts that go far beyond what we do. Readers of our donor profiles may find groups worthy of their support, and we hope that the volunteer profiles are both inspiring and help us recognize each other as we come and go.

Recently, I was asked to profile the Linda Neville Trust. As I began looking around for information about this group. I found a rich legacy of social concern and success in the prevention of blindness in Kentucky that has had an immense impact across the state and beyond. Linda Neville led the effort to cure Trachoma, a form of blindness that is the result of infection. Her efforts were both personal and political. She traveled to Eastern Kentucky, working directly with the Hindman Settlement, and established lines of care that involved bringing doctors to the area and patients back here to Lexington for treatment. She was known to take these people into her home during their treatment here, and worked to establish a network of Trachoma clinics that became county health centers.

Linda Neville’s work was so successful that the Trachoma clinics were able to close as the disease was treated, cured, and prevented. The types of blindness that affected so many in Eastern Kentucky during Linda Neville’s life are rare now. This is a true victory.

Linda Neville’s papers are archived, along with other resources that describe her efforts in the Kentuckiana Digital Library http://kdl.kyvl.org/catalog/xt7z08635k63/guide and at the University of Kentucky, http://exploreuk.uky.edu/catalog/xt7z08635k63/guide. Her life in Lexington is covered briefly in a Lexington History Museum blog: http://lexingtonhistory.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/spotlight-women-in-central-kentucky/ (with photos). The work of Linda Neville is covered in Authorized to Heal: Gender, Class, and the Transformation of Medicine in Appalachia, 1880-1930, Sandra Barney, 2000, and in several books about Women in Kentucky.
Kentucky historian and author, Duane Bolin, writes about Linda Neville in Kentucky Women: Their Lives and Times, scheduled to appear in early 2015 as part of the Southern Women series published by the University of Georgia Press http://www.ugapress.org/index.php/series/SWTLT

The Linda Neville Trust is a private non-profit. They have recently supported efforts of The Bluegrass Council of the Blind, VIPS – Visually Impaired Preschool Services who offer support and training to families with childhood vision differences, and longtime support to the Kentucky School for the Blind, among many, many others. The Linda Neville Trust provides major support to Radio Eye. I invite you to read further, because understanding the value and impact of a single individual’s persistent and focused effort was rewarding for me, and reminded me that while for a time blindness was a fact of life for many in Appalachia, a woman brought together the resources, understanding and capacity to change that fact for many and that work has affected generations after her. Image

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