Thank you so much to everyone who's given to Radio Eye during this holiday season!
Our studios were closed down over Christmas weekend, to give the staff time to spend the holiday with their families - but we were still on the air, broadcasting holiday stories to all of our listeners across the state.
Long-time listener, Mike (pictured left) called us before we closed on Friday. He told Lucy, "I'm really looking forward to the holiday programming. You're always such a joy to my life."
We have $300 left of a $5,250 match, thanks to our generous matching donors.
Thank you, again, to everyone who supports our service this holiday season and all year long!
Meet Our Newest Board Member - Larry Hurt
by Amy Hatter
Please join me in welcoming Larry Hurt (pictured right with his wife Sue) as the newest member of our Board of Directors! Larry joined the board in October, and we are very excited to have him.
Larry has been involved with Radio Eye for six years. He started as a volunteer reader in November 2010. He started out reading Business Lexington, and is currently the host of Country Weekly. He’s been the only volunteer to host Country Weekly since we started the show in March 2014.
Like so many people, Larry found out about us while reading the paper. “I think I saw a blurb in the newspaper. My recollection is that I saw it and thought ‘Oh, that'd be interesting.’ And then I saw it again maybe a year or two later, and that time I acted on it.”
Larry is originally from Perry County. He went to college at Eastern Kentucky University, where he met Sue. After college, he joined the Air Force as a draft motivated enlistee. During the Vietnam War, he was a computer programmer helping to study whether or not an all-volunteer military would work.
Over the years, he worked for the State Department of Transportation, Diamond Shamrock Coal Company, Lexington Clinic, and Bluegrass Family Health. He currently has two businesses – Home Helpers, which provides non-medical in-home care, and Bluegrass Metal Roofing, which does roofing, windows, and vinyl siding.
Larry and Sue have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. His son and his family are pictured to the left; his daughter and her family are pictured below on the right.
When he’s not at Radio Eye, working on his businesses, or spending time with his family, he’s watching a lot of UK sports. Larry says, “Sue and I watch football, men's basketball, women's basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, and softball. We have season tickets to all of those. I kid myself that if I heard they were opening a game of marbles up there, I'd probably be running to buy a ticket.”
Larry says he always liked to read. “So many volunteers I know have a story about why they started reading here. I just thought it was something that would be good for people – a good service. Then as I got to know you folks, I became even more impressed with it, with the stories of what good it was doing.”
For anyone who listens to Larry’s Country Weekly, if there’s any singers or bands you’d like to hear about, let us know. Larry will keep an eye out for those articles, and make sure to read them when they come out. You can call 859-422-6390, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Spotlight - Tom Briggs
by Amy Hatter
Tom Briggs is one of our new volunteers. He’s been reading from our studio at VIPS (Visually Impaired Preschool Services) in Louisville since June. Tom became a reader with us through his involvement with VIPS.
Tom says, “I have an affinity for people with visual problems. It goes back to my dad. He went blind in later life, and I saw what he went through. In the mid-80s, I got involved with VIPS. I’ve worked with VIPS in different capacities since 1985-86. In fact, I was the one who started their annual golf tournament, which they still have.”
Tom grew up in Erie, PA. He joined the army in 1956 and retired after 21 years. He did a couple of tours in Vietnam, and a couple of tours in Germany (where he met his wife). After the army, he was the Director of Security for a large restaurant company in California. After that, he started working for Yum in Louisville.
“I love Louisville. During the 80s, I had a couple of job offers to move elsewhere, one of which would have been to Houston, another one to Munich, Germany, and another one to Wichita, Kansas. All of them were great positions, but when we weighed what we’d give up, leaving Louisville just wasn’t worth it. It’s a great place to live. A great place to raise children, centrally located, weather’s not too bad. It’s fantastic. I love it. I’m now a Kentuckian.”
Tom’s wife began a full-service translation and interpretation company in 1991, which their daughter now runs. He also had another daughter who passed away 2 years ago. He has 3 grandchildren – 6, 12, and 14. They’re all boys – and very active.
Tom says, “About a year ago, I was talking with VIPS about what else I could do. They indicated that Radio Eye was about to open a studio in Louisville, and asked if I'd be interested. I’d already recorded for Recording for the Blind for 10 or 15 years. When they closed their doors, it kind of left me needing something to do.
“I never knew about Radio Eye. I think Radio Eye reaches people like my dad. I remember when he went blind, he used to get talking books. They used to send him a tape recorder, and it came with cassettes. They would just show up in his mailbox. When he was done, he’d put them back in the mailbox. And I thought what a great service that was for him."
Over the last few months, Tom’s read quite a few things for us. He says, “I enjoy reading the Kentucky Explorer, because I’ve learned a lot of things I didn’t know as I read the articles on Kentucky history. I thought the articles were very interesting. Every time I read something, it’s a learning experience for me, as I’m reading it. I enjoy all of them. And you all have been great to work with, because I get a choice in what I want to read. It’s been educational for me.”
Tom’s about to start reading a book, which he’s very anxious to share with our listeners.
When he reads for pleasure, he loves to read historical novels and espionage novels. He says, "If I go to Barnes & Noble, that's where you can find me - in either the historical section or over looking at crime novels.
Tom is also an amateur photographer. One of his Kentucky horse photographs is pictured on the right, and you can find more at http://www.pbase.com/tombriggs.
Listen to Radio Eye on your TV
If you have a smart TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Roku, or many other devices, you can now listen to Radio Eye on your TV, through the TuneIn Radioapp.
Just download the app on your device (including Apple, Android, and Windows phones), search for Radio Eye, and play any of our 4 streams.
Volunteers Needed: Outreach Committee
This committee is a good fit for folks who enjoy public speaking and making presentations to small and/or large groups. Volunteers on the Outreach Committee are expected to set up booths at health fairs and expos, talk about our service at retirement homes and hospitals, make presentations at clubs and other organizations, etc. Members should be outgoing and willing to spread the word about Radio Eye at various events.
The purpose of the Outreach Committee is to spread the word about Radio Eye – speaking engagements at health fairs, local club meetings, hospitals, retirement communities, etc. This committee creates alliances with organizations who could become donors, volunteers, listeners, or other supporters.
Currently, in Kentucky, there are over 145,000 people with a severe visual impairment. We serve a little less than 10,000 people. Despite being in business over 25 years, many people and organizations in the community don’t know who we are or what we do. Educating people about our service is the first step to reaching more listeners, donors, volunteers, and community partners.
Typically this committee meets every 4-6 weeks on Mondays at 10:00 am, and meetings last about an hour.
Our meetings are almost always held in the Lexington office at the Northside Library at 1733 Russell Cave Road, Lexington, Kentucky 40505. There is the option to come to the meeting in person, call in over the phone, or using Skype.
To join the outreach committee, call the office (859-422-6390), email the chair, Marlene James (email@example.com), or talk to any of the staff when you’re in the office to let us know you’re interested. We will let you know when the next meeting is scheduled and put you on the committee mailing list. We would love to have you!
If you’d like to learn more about a committee without committing to joining, we invite you to sit on a meeting before making your decision.
“Serving on the Outreach Committee has given me a sense that I am helping my grandmother who was blind the last 10 years of her life. I enjoy meeting new people who usually need someone or something to make their life happier and more filled with information. All you need to serve on the committee is an open heart and easy ability to talk to people about this great service.” ~Marlene James, Outreach Chair
Simplifying the way a volunteer can record at home
Androids, and iPhones, and Readings…Oh My!
By: Lucy Stone
I’ll never forget the morning everything changed. When I went to bed that night, the meteorologists were predicting massive snowfalls overnight. I smirked as I set my alarm, because it’s Kentucky, and they had certainly been wrong before.
In the still of the early morning, the ever recognized ding of my iPhone cut through the silence to startle me awake. It was a text from Amy, telling me we were closed for the day and that it was ShowTime.
The next few hours were a blur as I struggled to wake up enough to call volunteers, set up my “At-Home” recording equipment, log in remotely to our studios, and actually do the recordings that were expected of me.
That first day was the worst. Attitudes and tempers ran hot as Radio Eye trekked into the uncharted territory of getting the entire broadcast out by way of just the three of us. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t graceful, but it happened.
Day two was easier, but I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that there just had to be a simpler way to do things. We were trying to recreate in our homes what we had in the studios, and that created its own laundry list of problems.
For some reason, we couldn’t hear ourselves if we needed to rewind so we just had to hope that the recording had no major errors. For some reason, if our laptops were hooked into a power source during the recording, it created a hum that we couldn’t hear, but that I could see. Removing it became a guessing game of…well just how good at my job am I? For some reason, it was taking longer to upload a file than it did to record it, and we were working against the clock.
These issues were ones that we were willing to fight with because, as a whole, we knew just how important it was to keep our listeners updated with their local news.
In the past we had relied on using TIC (Talking Information Center in Massachusetts) if Radio Eye needed to shut down due to weather. But that meant that the news wasn’t area specific, and we were letting our listeners down during a time when they really needed us the most.
At our next staff meeting, we discussed the pros and cons of recording at home, what worked and what didn’t, quality control, and a few other kinks. I brought up the possibility of using our phones instead of the bigger, bulkier equipment, but Amy just didn’t think the broadcast quality would be there so I dropped the idea.
Fast forward a few months, and we were running into more and more people saying they wanted to record more, but that getting to us was the hardest part. I started thinking about my original idea of using an iPhone to record.
I started researching and playing around with different apps, and that really made me narrow down what I wanted in a recording app. I wanted to be able to manipulate the file. I wanted to the app to be easily explained. And the biggest obstacle…I wanted to be able to actually send the file. This lead me to discover the Audio Memos Standard App.
I created a draft of instructions and recruited a volunteer to be my guinea pig. I set him up in the live studio, closed the door, and hoped for the best. There were a few hiccups but it worked.
We tweaked a few settings on the app, and the next week he did his normal recording at home. From there we were able to explore and then expand on what has now become our remote reading program.
Essentially, if a volunteer is interested in recording at home, they need to have a smart phone, internet, and a positive attitude. A headset is helpful but if you have headphones that came with your phone, and they are equipped with a microphone, those usually work fine. If not, we have some headsets for sell in the studios, and we can also direct you to other places you can purchase them.
First, we start off with a meeting where I explain everything and get the apps downloaded on their phone. We’ll go over how to use the app, how to send the file, how to trouble shoot issues, and a practice run. I do ask that the individual do an initial test at home so we can check for quality control and make sure there isn’t an echo within the room they are recording in.
Megan will send the person electronic copies of whatever script they need, as well as a direct link to a website that lists of all of our digital material in alphabetical order.
From there it is really up to the individual! Currently, we have trained around two dozen people to do remote reading. Some people love the freedom of being able to record whenever/wherever they want! Other see the practicality in it but they would rather come into the studios.
Either way, we’re excited to offer new ways to volunteer and to be able to expand our volunteer base!
If you have any questions or are interested in recording at home, please don’t hesitate to ask! With bad weather quickly approaching, we’re welcoming all the help we can get in order to have a quality broadcast if the unfortunate circumstance arises where Radio Eye must close due to weather.
Any of the Radio Staff can get you started on the path to remote reading! We’re happy to answer questions, give you information to look over, and schedule a meeting whenever you’re ready to get started!
Upcoming Books in 2017
The following books will play in our Book Series from January - June 2017.
Cecelia and Fanny: The Remarkable Friendship between an Escaped Slave and Her Former Mistress. By Brad Asher
Bluegrass Conspiracy. By Sally Denton
Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages that Shaped our History. By Kati Marton
The Street Lawyer. By John Grisham.
River of Earth. By James Still
Maisie Dobbs. By Jacqueline Winspear
A Midwifes Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary 1785-1812. By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads. By Paul Theorux
Vinegar Girl. By Ann Tyler
Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope. By Jimmy Carter
Thank you to our recent donors!*
GoodGiving Guide Challenge Match donors:
Kentucky School for the Blind Charitable Foundation
A Cup of Common Wealth
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
William B. Rogers Beasley
David & Roi-Ann Bettez
Blue Grass Community Foundation
Bluegrass Hospitality Group
Brian and Joy Dineen Charitable Fund - in honor of John Copeland
David Cain & Sarah McCubbin-Cain
Jack and Robin Carrington
Country Boy Brewing
Don Cowan & Marion Clark
Anne and Harry Dadds
Gary and Alice Dehner - in honor of Mike Barnard
Danny D. Dunn - in honor of Rick Roderick
Mike and Kathy Fister
Terrance and Karen Furlow
Juanita Garrison - in honor of Jason Ginter, Sr.
Gateway Radio Works, Inc. - WMST/WKYN/WKCA/WIVY
Carolyn and John Hackworth
David Hafley and Janet Shedd
Carroll and Kay Hall - in memory of Mary Logan Hatton
Phil & Connie Harmon
Headley-Whitney Museum of Art
Lee and Marge Holmes
The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels
Hope Hurst Lanham
Charly A. Hyden
Al Isaac - in memory of Terry Isaac
Jan and Raymond Isenhour
Ned and Marlene James
Karen Jones & Beverly Futrell
Keeneland Association, Inc.
Linda and Lewis Kelly
Helen Kemp - in memory of James D. Kemp
Kentucky Horse Park
Kentucky School for the Blind Charitable Foundation
Kiwanis Club of Somerset
John J. Larkin
Lexington Lions Club
Dr. Elizabeth Lorch
Kathy Loeb - in honor of Marlene James
Charlotte and William Lubawy
Maxwell Street Literary Society
Maysville Lions Club
Michler's Florist, Greenhouses & Garden Design
Shelly and Dick Meyer
Terri and Grover Mollineaux
Mel and Madalyn Moser
Dr. Dennis Newton
William Offutt, IV, MD
Sara L. Osborne - in memory of her Mamaw
Timothy and Sue Overman
Roger Paige & Sara Schoenberg - in memory of Trevor Brown
Billy and Carol Porter
Donald L. Porter
Ann Mary Quarandillo
Toni Reiss and Marc Plavin
Ken and Dudley Robertson
Marilyn Robie & Arthur Shechet
Patsy and Jerry Rose
Mary Ellen Ross
Ruth Hunt Candies
Glenna R. Salyer
Dr. John H. Saunders
John and Carole Seibert
Dr. John Selegue
Adrienne and Jim Stevens
Dr. Julia and Dr. Scott Stevens
Rev. Wayne Stevenson
Gaynell Dee Stroud
Sara and Tommy Sutton
Third Street Stuff & Coffee
Barbara K. Thompson - in honor of Joyce McGuire
Bill Turner - in honor of Josephine Fugate
UK Art Museum
Frank and Carol Vaughan
Natalie B. Watt
Gary and Fernita Wallace
Elizabeth J Westin OD
Stanley Wheeler and Patricia Reed Wheeler
Roxane R. White - in memory of Sam White
Betty Ann Wise
Laura Zimmerman - in honor of Deb Shoss and Libbie Sherman