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WCNY-FM offers special radio service for blind and visually impaired


READ-OUT coordinator Mary Lamb sits in the recording studio at WCNY-FM, where volunteers serve the blind and visually-impaired by reading various publications for radio broadcast.

READ-OUT coordinator Mary Lamb sits in the recording studio at WCNY-FM, where volunteers serve the blind and visually-impaired by reading various publications for radio broadcast. Photo by Tami Scott.

“Especially for things like recording books,” which aren’t aired until all the sections are ready, she said.

Volunteers who read the local daily newspaper aloud typically arrive in the morning and prepare themselves by first clipping and organizing articles for a seamless soundtrack. Two chairs and two microphones pair up individuals in one studio booth for longer recordings.

“We prefer to have two people [read the paper] just so one person’s voice doesn’t get tired reading for two hours,” Lamb said.

At one time, the initial recording was broadcast live, but taped for slots later in the day. Now, everything is pre-recorded since the station moved to its new location on West Fayette Street in Syracuse.

Local programming runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the weekly schedule is available online at WCNY.org.

Overnight, the service streams content from its national affiliation with the Radio Talking Book Network, which brings the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, the New Yorker, National Geographic and other publications.

“We’re available 24 hours thanks to that,” Lamb said.

Those interested in accessing READ-OUT can borrow receivers by contacting WCNY at 453-2424 or by emailing marie.lamb@wcny.org. Custom-built receivers are also available for purchase by request; they are not sold in stores.

Would you like to volunteer? Contact volunteer coordinator Charlie Manro at 453-2424 or email him at Charlie.Manro@wcny.org.

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