A few weeks ago, I attended the IAAIS Conference in Minneapolis, which was held from June 6 – 9. The IAAIS (or International Association of Audio Information Services) is a worldwide group of reading services who all provide the reading of printed information in some form or another. Last week, I wrote about what I learned at the first half of the conference. (Read about it here!)
If you’ve ever wondered why Radio Eye is able to read copyrighted material over the air (other than the fact that wonderful newspapers like the Lexington Herald-Leader give us permission along with donating the papers), the reasons are sections 110 and 121 of copyright law, and the doctrine of “fair use,” which state that printed material can be read for the exclusive or primary use of people who are blind. Melanie Brunson of the American Council of the Blind and Maryfrances Evans of IRIS, a reading service serving Iowa, held a lively discussion about how these provisions affect radio reading services – especially those broadcasting on an open channel.
In the technology discussion, we learned that most (86%) of reading services across the country use SCA frequencies and 63% stream on their website. At least one station broadcasts only on a regular FM frequency. 37% use a smartphone app. Most services are likely to add podcasting as their next broadcast method, so listeners can get their programming on-demand instead of having to listen to their newspapers at a certain time.
Bill Phelps of Owl Radio (part of the Low Vision Resource Center) told us about a wonderful partnership of blindness agencies in Texas, the San Antonio Low Vision Club. The club is a specialized support group that holds monthly meetings with visually impaired members of the community, providing information about medical research of eye diseases and local resources for people with vision impairments. The club members also participate in social activities like bingo, bowling, Christmas parties, and have technology days, where club members can try out adaptive devices.
They also provide a resource guide to every member of the club, including information like household hints, low vision clinics, rehabilitation services, and where to find adaptive aids. Bill was so gracious to send me a copy of the guide, so we can use it as a template here in Lexington.
I loved my time at the IAAIS Conference – and I’m so excited to go back next year, when it will be held in Fort Wayne, Indiana, hosted by the Northeast Indiana Radio Reading Service.
~Amy Hatter, Executive Director