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'Independence And Information': Radio Station Helps Visually Impaired Audience

MARSHFIELD (CBS) - It's a non-profit radio station that aims its signal at a very specific audience; people who are blind or visually impaired. The Talking Information Center has been operating for 40 years. Two hundred volunteers are behind the microphones, reading to a large audience.

It's a 24/7 operation with more than 200 programs. "Really what we're trying to do is provide independence and information," says Ann Dunbar, the Executive Director of the Talking Information Center. They provide that service by reading newspapers, books, magazines and poetry. They even perform radio dramas. "We provide reading services for the blind and visually impaired and to those who are otherwise disabled. We have about 30,000 unique listeners across the state of Massachusetts," Dunbar says.

TIC network blind radio
The Talking Information Center in Marshfield. (WBZ-TV)

One of those listeners is Richard Chapman who is totally blind. "I think for me it is a feeling of being more connected. I like to listen to the articles from the Globe and the New York Times. Those are really my favorites," Chapman explains

From eight studios in the Marshfield radio station, it's the volunteers who make it happen. "I get a huge sense of enjoyment and satisfaction in knowing that I'm a link in a chain that brings people together," says Paul Pesa who is a new volunteer reader.

Richard Chapman
Richard Chapman listens to the Talking Information Center. (WBZ-TV)

Joanie Rogers has been reading in Spanish at the station for eight years. "I really enjoy it and this is one great way to reach out to the many Latinos who are in the Boston area," she says.

"Just hearing a voice during the day gives them some kind of connection, I think," says six month volunteer Alison Davies.

Jennifer Love has read poetry on the air for 10 years. "I'm just hoping I'm filling some little void in somebody's life," she says.

For the listeners, each day's programming is something to look forward to. "I don't know what's coming up next, but I'm sure dying to find out," says listener Richard Chapman.

People are able to listen to the reading service through a special receiver, a phone app or on the web.

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