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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Community Outreach, Events

I Know Expo

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On April 27, Radio Eye set up our information table at the 2014 I Know Expo, in the Lexington Convention Center. It was a great opportunity to connect with future listeners and caregivers, and we learned about a few things we thought we should share with our readers.

I Know Expo is the result of Gale Reese’s experience care giving for three members of her family. As founder of ITNBluegrass, she realized a need for collective resource sharing and created iknowexpo.org. (ITNBluegrass is a transportation service for visually impaired adults and people over 60!)

The expo is a once a year event, and exhibitors and speakers present all day, but the resources are available all the time on the I Know website: http://iknowexpo.org/resource-directory/ .

There were some really interesting products on display, and Doug from ZOUNDS of Lexington (http://zoundshearing.com/lexington/about-us/) told us about how the hearing aids they offer are rechargeable, meaning someone with visual or fine motor difficulties would not have to worry about dealing with tiny batteries.

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Of course, our friends from the Lexington Public Library were there, lexpuplib.org , and also, the folks from Kentucky Talking Book Library- A library service for people who are visually impaired or physically disabled. http://kdla.ky.gov/librarians/talkingbook/Pages/default.aspx

The great thing about I Know is that they work year round to bring information to the Bluegrass community, and if you missed this year’s expo, there are I Know Sunday Sessions on the 4th Sunday of every month, 2:00 – 4:00 pm at The Woman’s Club of Central Kentucky. These sessions are free! The next session is on May 18, 2014, featuring Laura Dake, AARP Volunteer Trainer, presenting : AARP’s Prepare to Care: A Resource Guide for Families

You can find the whole schedule of speakers here:
http://iknowexpo.org/sunday-sessions/

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–Lissa Probus, Volunteer

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Community Outreach, Events, Volunteers

Volunteer Appreciation Event by Volunteer Lissa Probus

This was a very special year for the Volunteer Appreciation Event!

We were welcomed to the activity room at Morning Pointe, which is an active senior community on the eastern edge of Lexington. Several months ago, I delivered a console radio to Morning Point for this very room, and it was great to see it there on the counter.

The pretty weather and pleasant location seemed to bring more of us together than last year, and it was very nice to see people talking and enjoying company.

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There was a delicious fresh salad with fantastic balsamic dressing, excellent wrap sandwiches and while we (my son and I) had brownies, I believe that there was a buzz about pecan bars. Mtani Catering did a wonderful job and people really seemed to enjoy the food. As Chef James Baker says on the Mtani website, Mtani = Friendship. We could definitely taste that in the food they made for us.

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I enjoyed meeting other volunteers I have only seen on the way in and out of the studio, and it was a good time also to share what we do with each other and our guests.

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This year was special for me, because I was recognized as volunteer of the year.

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I have to be honest, I asked Chelsey to look for a runner up, because I can’t find the time to do everything I want for Radio Eye, and now that I am homeschooling full time with my son, I am missing the committee meetings more and more and am really limited in what I can do during business hours. I believe the readers do the most valuable work for Radio Eye, and I still haven’t found the courage to go on mic!

Top 10 Volunteers

1. Lissa Probus

2. Deb Shoss

3. Blanca Ward

4. Sondra Morgan

5. Don Sands

6. Roger Paige

7. Richard Lucas

8. Inam Shalati

9. Judy Clemons

10. Bill Murphy

 

That said, if you are considering joining the outreach committee, I want to say it’s a wonderful group of people and it always gives me a great sense of pride and satisfaction when I am able to share the mission of our organization with someone new at an event. If you think you might be interested, feel free to get in touch with Chelsey (chelsey.vandyke@radioeye.org) about joining or if you like, she can put you in touch with me and I can tell you a little bit about what we have done in the last year as volunteers in our efforts to reach the public and new listeners. We have a couple of members who have been long time ambassadors for Radio Eye who are away this summer, so it’s a great time to step up!

Here are Lucy and Chelsey with Don, our newest Outreach Committee member:

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In the end, I have to say that I am really grateful for the opportunity to volunteer for Radio Eye. People volunteer for all sorts of reasons, and while I have led an all volunteer organization in the past during my extended stay at college, I have found few organizations in Lexington where volunteers were so central to the work as ours. Our tiny staff at Radio Eye does an excellent job of facilitating the work of the volunteers who read and keep the technology going, but the work of bringing the daily print media to our listeners is a gift of volunteers. We can do so much if we work together and in that we learn, make friends, get to give back in ways we couldn’t otherwise and create good in our region that makes it a more connected, vibrant place to live.

So- Radio Eye volunteers past and future, I appreciate you for doing everything you do!

Lissa Probus, Outreach Committee Volunteer

 

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Community Outreach, Expansion, Marketing

Name Change Press Release

Radio Eye, Inc

“Your Eye on the Written World”

1733 Russell Cave Road, Lexington, Kentucky 40505

Telephone: 859-422-6390   ~  Website: http://www.RadioEye.org

LEXINGTON, KY  —  Radio Eye, Kentucky’s only radio reading service, recently changed their name in order to better address the ever growing coverage area that they broadcast their service to.

“We need to get the message out that we aren’t just in Central Kentucky anymore,” said Lucy Stone, Assistant Studio Manager. “We now have signals that cover South Eastern as well as parts of Eastern Kentucky. Our listener base is growing and we’re happy to reach out in ways that we couldn’t before. By dropping the Central Kentucky, we include all of our listeners and volunteers in what we’re doing.”

The decision came following the completion of Radio Eye’s merger with WEKU, which allows the signal to be broadcasted throughout the mountain. “In partnering with WEKU, we should be able to reach an additional 17,000 listeners,” Stone said. “We could be helping 17,000 people who may not have the ‘word’ at their fingertips but they will certainly have the word at their earlobes!

In addition to current newspapers, magazines, and other printed material, Radio Eye will broadcast different regional papers in the Eastern Kentucky area.

The name change takes place immediately. The new program guides will be printed with the name Radio Eye when they are sent out later this month. Changes to social media include changing the name and handle on Facebook and Twitter.

The streams for all programs can be heard at http://www.radioeye.org and on the iBlink Radio smartphone app.

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Community Outreach, Media

Radio Eye in the News

Radio Eye has been featured in the news twice this week!

The Voice-Tribune of Louisville wrote a great article on us called, “Filling the Void.” Thanks to volunteer Missy Ward for interviewing! You can find it by following the link below:

http://www.voice-tribune.com/news/cover-story/filling-the-void/

We were also featured on LEX18 yesterday. Thanks to Philip Rose and Carolyn Hackworth for agreeing to be in the segment. You can find the link below:

http://www.lex18.com/news/making-a-difference-reading-to-the-blind/

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Community Outreach, Events, Expansion

Kentucky Council for the Blind Conference

by Lucy Stone.

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I consider myself a little bit of a go-getter. That’s why when it came time to send people to the Kentucky Council of the Blind conference in Louisville this past weekend, I happily volunteered. It is no secret that I fell in love with my job on the first day. Our volunteers are the sweetest people and I knew that our listeners had to be as well. I thought it would be beyond difficult to wake up at 5:30 so that I could leave in time to get to the conference in order to set up a little before 8am, but I was wrong. As soon as my alarm went off I was filled with excitement because I KNEW that it was going to be a great day! I was right.  It was so amazing to get to meet some of the people we help on a daily basis. It seemed that everyone who came by our booth already had our radio and were more than pleased with their service. It was really cool to see how excited people got when we mentioned we were moving into Eastern Kentucky. I passed out several applications to potential Eastern Kentucky listeners and they were all so happy to have another service cater to helping them.

The booth Radio Eye had was situated between the “See the World” booth and a jewelry stand. I had the pleasant opportunity to chat with the folks at the “See the World” booth and they gave me some rookie knowledge. A very nice lady told me that they carry all of our information and that most people who come in don’t even know about our type of program. We are working very hard to change that! What I found most interesting about their booth was the huge variety of things that they had. From talking bibles, to talking alarm clocks, Braille watches, and even Braille Uno cards, they had it all! The lady said that the increase in technology has just opened up a new world for the blind and visually impaired. I was blown away. I loved having the chance to talk to various people and see how they each, uniquely, used different devices. The hardest part for me, of course, was being around all the dogs and not reaching out to pet them. It was pretty cool to watch the animals see for the person. They knew all the right moments to do all the right things. They were all so well behaved. I did learn, however, that Wildman was known to steal something yummy right off the table from time to time. With that knowledge I moved our candy bowl a little farther from the edge of the table.

Overall, I am so happy that I got the opportunity to attend such an informational conference. Several times Radio Eye was mentioned and I had such a sense of pride and happiness whenever people clapped or said something positive about all the work we’re doing. During lunch I chatted with a couple who are very familiar with Radio Eye and their enthusiasm for our program just made me want to work harder to share that positivity with others. I love our listeners. I love our volunteers. I love our program. And, I love my job.

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Community Outreach, Development, Events

Upcoming Events

We have some exciting events this week at Radio Eye!

On Thursday from 5pm – 7pm, we will be having an open house. If you’ve ever wondered how Radio Eye operates, you can come see for yourself. We’ll also talk about volunteer opportunities if you’re interested.

At noon on Thursday, Emily Duncan, UHS Student Health Insurance Coordinator, will be in to record a program about health insurance for our listeners. This special program will air on November 23rd at 2pm.

The Kentucky Council for the Blind (KCB) Conference is this weekend in Louisville. Studio Manager Chelsey VanDyke will attend on Friday from 4pm – 6pm at the Radio Eye booth. Lucy Stone, Assistant Studio Manager, will take over on Saturday morning. Lucy will also stay for some of the classes to learn about new assistive technology!

We are very excited for our upcoming events. We’d like to also remind everyone that the GoodGiving Guide Challenge doesn’t end until December 31st so there is still plenty of time to make a donation to Radio Eye. So far 26 donors have gifted us with $3,530! We also met our matching grant from the Kentucky School for the Blind Charitable Foundation for $2,500. Thanks to all who have donated!

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