The Radio Reading Service is still going strong, thanks to our dedicated volunteers and despite the challenges of the pandemic. The service is in place as recognition that nearly 20,000 individuals in the listening area have some type of print disability. Sight difficulties cover a wide spectrum from total blindness to the inability to distinguish standard newsprint without a magnifying device. The Radio Reading Service (RRS) is a public service of the Virginia Tech Foundation and WVTF/RADIO IQ operating on our subcarrier, a "hidden" portion of the FM signal that cannot be picked up by traditional receivers. Each day of the year, listeners to our Radio Reading Service can enjoy a program mix of readings from local, regional and national newspapers and magazines, thanks to volunteer readers and to the fundraising efforts of the New Vision, a local non-profit agency which provides FM-SCA receivers on a permanent loan to qualified residents in our listening area.
New Vision has helped support our Radio Reading Service since 1981. New Vision's mission is to meet the needs of the blind, visually impaired, and others with print handicaps. Recently, New Vision partnered with Goodwill Industries of the Valleys. For more information about New Vision and their important work, please visit https://www.goodwillvalleys.com/adult-services/#vision
To pick up our Radio Reading Service, listeners need a "subcarrier" receiver (FM-SCA receiver). The process of qualifying for one of these receivers is simple. The RRS requires that a receiver application form be filled out by the listener (or family member). A portion of the application must also be completed by a medical professional or public welfare agent to verify the need for the special radio (which we provide free of charge). Download the application form and return it to New Vision for a Radio Receiver for the RRS Service.
Applications can be mailed to: New Vision 2502 Melrose Ave NW, Suite B, Roanoke, VA 24017.
The Radio Reading Service can also now be accessed through Alexa and other smart speakers.
The RRS relies on volunteer readers. There is no "set" schedule—some readers volunteer weekly, while others read on an "on-call" basis. You can even read remotely from home—all you need is a quiet space, and a smartphone or computer! To explore volunteer opportunities with our Radio Reading Service, please click here for more information, Email us anytime, or call us 9:00-5:00 M-F at 800-856-8900.