I recently learned that a reading service in New Jersey will stop broadcasting newspapers on March 1. On June 30, they will stop broadcasting entirely. At this time, I don’t know why the decision was made.
Did they lose their funding, as has happened with so many other reading services over the past decade?
Do their funders, parent company, or leaders think they’re not needed anymore, because other technology makes printed material more accessible – even though many people who have lost their vision don’t have access to this new technology?
No matter the reason, this is a great loss to people who are visually impaired or have a print reading disability in New Jersey.
It breaks my heart that their listeners will be left without this vital service.
When talking to a friend of mine in the industry (who wished to remain anonymous), she expressed dismay over the closing of another service. “Sometimes it feels like we’re vulnerable no matter what we do,” she said. Like me, she’s seen over two dozen reading services forced to close their doors or severely cut back on their services in the past 8 years alone.
I want to thank each of you, for supporting our service. Your monetary and in-kind gifts, volunteer time, being a listener – even just taking the time to read this newsletter and learn what we’re doing – helps keep us not just going, but growing.
Without all of you, Radio Eye would not be where it is today. In the past 8 years I’ve been at Radio Eye, we have almost tripled our listener base. We’ve grown our reach to include Louisville, Morehead, and Southeast Kentucky.
We have expanded the way we reach our listeners. No longer tied to broadcasting just on a special radio frequency, we now offer our service on our website, on cable TV in Lexington and Frankfort, in a multitude of hospitals, senior centers, and retirement homes, on telephones and smartphones.
Last year, we added two new ways to listen – internet radios for people who have access to the internet but no computer, and a toll free telephone line for people who don’t have long distance service.
This would not have happened without you – the 365 people, foundations, and companies who funded us; our 6 community partners (Lexington Public Library, WUKY, WEKU, Morehead State Public Radio, VIPS, and Louisville Public Media) who give us studio space and our radio frequencies; the 188 volunteers who gave their time and voices to produce our programming and serve on committees; and the 9,849 listeners across the state who heard about our service and said, “I could use that. Where do I sign up?”
So thank you, again, for keeping our service in your heart and mind, and helping out where you can.
If you’d like to help out in other ways, here’s how:
Sign up to be a volunteer reader. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a volunteer orientation.
Join a committee. We have 3 main committees – development, outreach, and expansion. You can sit in on meetings before joining, if you’d like to check it out first. I would be happy to talk to you about the duties and responsibilities – just call, email, or stop by my office when I’m in.
Tell other people about our service. One of our main sources of new listeners is referrals. If you know anyone who has a visual, cognitive, or physical disability that makes it hard to read print, let them know about us.
Like us on Facebook and Twitter, and share our events.
Forward this newsletter to friends who may be interested in our service.
Thank you again – we couldn’t do this without you!
Amy Hatter, Executive Director
1733 Russell Cave Road
Lexington, KY 40505
Direct Line: 859-422-6392
Meet a Listener - Jacob K.
by Chelsey Keesy, Development Director
Jacob K. lives in Wingo, KY with his mother, Paula, and two cats. Jacob has been a Radio Eye listener for about a year. He found out about us through NFB-Newsline, another type of audio information service accessed via telephone or smartphone app. We broadcast on NFB-Newsline, but listeners have to call a local number (not a toll-free number) to get our programming through them.
Jacob really wanted to use Radio Eye, but all of the local numbers are long distance for him, and he doesn’t have unlimited long distance service. He also doesn’t have internet, and he lives too far west to listen to us on our radios.
After a little research, we were able to find a service called AudioNow to start providing a toll-free telephone broadcast for our service. It debuted in March last year, and Jacob has been listening ever since.
Jacob lost his vision at 19 months old due to asphyxiation when he choked while eating. “He had to relearn everything,” Paula says. Jacob attended the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) when he was younger and finished his schooling in Wingo. He enjoyed his time at KSB and wants to stay connected to that area, which is difficult with his vision impairment and living so far away.
Jacob says, “I appreciate the telephone service being available for those who don’t have unlimited long distance.” He feels more connected to Louisville, an area he used to live in, where he can now access the local news.
“I listen almost every day,” Jacob says. His favorite programs are the Herald-Leader, Courier-Journal, and American Past. “It’s wonderful, he can spend hours on the phone,” his mother adds.
SPOTLIGHT on Jesse Crenshaw
By Amy Hatter
I had the pleasure of sitting down and getting to know former state representative Jesse Crenshaw a few weeks ago. Mr. Crenshaw has been supporting Radio Eye since 2008.
Mr. Crenshaw was the representative for the 77th district in Fayette County for 22 years – from January 1993 to December 2014. He served on three House committees – Appropriations and Revenue, Judiciary, and Government Contracts Review Subcommittee.
His grandfather helped his start in politics. “My grandfather had always been involved in various political campaigns. He used to prepare fish for various Democratic fish fries. So when I was about 12, I was helping with fixing this, that, and the other. When I came to Lexington, a good friend of mine urged me to go with him to register people to vote. So we went down to the sanitation department and registered people as they came to work.”
In 1973, he started helping with Foster Pettit’s mayoral campaign, and hasn’t stopped helping with political campaigns since. Even during his own campaigns, he would distribute material for other democratic candidates in the district. “What I learned was, if you take about this much material from each candidate,” he told me, holding his fingers a few inches apart, “you can handle distributing at least four different things of material while walking the same 77th ground to help four different candidates.”
One of his accomplishments during his time in the legislature was helping to get the Polk Dalton Clinic located in his district. “U of L and UK were getting what was called Medicaid match dollars,” he recalled. “U of L was going to get $13 million dollars, and UK was going to get around $15 million.” U of L agreed with the governor to use the money to help indigent people receive health care, but UK wanted to do something else with theirs.
Together with a host of other people – including Pam Miller, Ernesto Scorsone, and Tony Geotz – Mr. Crenshaw convinced Dr. James Holsinger (who was Chancellor of the UK Chandler Medical Center at the time) to build a health clinic on the north end of town. “Where it is now, you’ve got all those people on third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh streets who can walk to it. All the senior citizens that are across the street in the Urban League housing can walk across the street to health care.”
Mr. Crenshaw is also an attorney. He’s had law offices in Lexington since 1974. “I was born and reared in Metcalfe County on a farm,” he told me. “We worked hard raising tobacco, milking cows, and raising all kinds of vegetables. I remember looking at those cows one day and thinking to myself, ‘They don’t want to be disturbed. They are as happy as can be and want to be left alone.’ So the question came to me, ‘Do I want to be a farmer all my life?’ Then I started thinking about what else was available.
“When I was coming along, you didn’t have all these different jobs that we have now – technology, healthcare industry, and all of those. You could either be a teacher, a lawyer, or a doctor. But I was always frightened of blood, so the possibility of being a doctor was out. My mother was a teacher, and my aunt had been a teacher. They always had to go back to school in summers to keep their certification and everything up to date. So I’m thinking to myself – and this is a 15-year old’s logic now – if I should try to become a teacher, it will ruin my summers. So by process of elimination, the only thing left was to become a lawyer.”
About his support of Radio Eye, he said, “It's comforting to know that somebody – namely, you all – are providing that kind of help for people. Knowing that you all provide the service the way you do is why I give. As I used to say when I was in the legislature, if you say you’re for something and you don't fund it, then you're not for it.”
Goodbye from Megan
By: Megan Hensley, Studio Manager
It has been a real pleasure and rich learning experience working here at Radio Eye these past few years. I started off as a volunteer around March 2013, and then in October 2014 I filled this position as Assistant Studio Manager.
After March 30th, I will be headed to Seattle for new adventures. Thanks to everyone for their support, kind words, and tips for exploring this new city. It is inspiring to see so many different people from this community dedicate so much effort into supporting this cause.
See you at the going away party!
A going away party will be held on March 30th at 12:30 pm, in the Lexington studios. Light snacks will be served.
Hello from Sara
by Sara Woosley, Louisville Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
My name is Sara Woosley and I am excited to be the new Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for Radio Eye in Louisville. Born and raised in Louisville, my family and I have recently moved back after several years living in Shepherdsville.
I’ve been married to Doug for almost 23 years and we have two children. He is an engineer who designs commercial fire panels and owns a business that designs and installs commercial audio, video, and lighting systems. Our son works for a computer repair company and our daughter is in school with her eye on a career in technology.
I am thrilled to be part of Radio Eye! Doing what I can to help make the world a better place is near and dear to my heart and I’m looking forward to building the volunteer team in Louisville and connecting more Louisvillians to Radio Eye’s service.
Hearing stories of current listeners and how they feel re-connected to their communities again through listening to Radio Eye is something I feel honored to be part of.
To all current volunteers - thank you so much for all you do to touch the lives of our listeners. To anyone in the Louisville area who would like to volunteer, please contact me at 502-632-4306 or email@example.com.
Save the Date - Kentucky Gives Day
Organized by the Kentucky Nonprofit Network, Kentucky Gives Day is an innovative online fundraising event that encourages Kentuckians to donate as much money as possible in support of their favorite participating charities through a single website and in just twenty-four hours.
Kentucky Gives Day will be April 18th this year. Last year, 21 donors, St. Joseph Kentucky One Health, and our board of directors raised $3,400 for reading services in Kentucky.
Keep an eye out for more information, including this year's match donations and the link to donate - and thank you to everyone who supports us in this campaign and all year long!
Thank you to our recent donors!*
William B. Rogers Beasley
Henri Mae Bell
M. Cary and Nancy Blaydes
Ron and Susan Byars
Stephen Byars and Lisa Blackdar
Annette and Derriel Castle
Joanne and Lee Cybulski
Frankie and Randy Daniel
Mr. David Dickason & Mrs. Laura Cole
John and Susan Fister
Group Six, Inc. & David and Brenda Cox
David Hafley and Janet Shedd
Phyllis R. Hasbrouck
Larry and Sue Hurt
Jacob and Mary Karnes
Lindy Karns and Rick Christman
Kim Edwards Charitable Foundation
Lexington KY Chapter #345 of AARP
Linda Neville Trust
Thomas L. Lutes
Kenneth and Pamela McFarland
Bob and Marcia Miller
Bill and Fredda Moody
Bob and Teresa Naydan
Robert Dean Nuss
O. Leonard Press
Prewitt Family Christmas Donation
Mr. & Mrs. Carl T. Radden
Bob and Ann Rogers
Fon & Mac Rogers, II
Patsy and Jerry Rose
Don and Betty Sands
Second Presbyterian Church
Mark and Sharanna Swisher
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.
Cary & Madelyn Twyman
Blanca & Walter Ward
Dr. Tiffany Wheeler
In Memory Of
Charles Armstrong by Jessie G. Armstrong
Trevor Brown by: Sonja Brown Storie, Gary and Alice Dehner, and Vera Dubilier
Mary Catherine Grunzinger by Theresa and Ken Moakler
Eli McQuire by Darrell Ratliff
Patricia Rand by Larry and Michele Nalepa
Thomas Shofner by Anonymous
In Honor Of
Al Crabb by Jean Pival
Valerie Huggins by Paul and Christine Helsby
Patricia Rand by Joseph Turley and Maureen Peters
Emma Shofner by Anonymous
*Donors from December 24, 2016 - February 26, 2017