Radio Readers Celebrate 10th Anniversary

Loletah Webster
Loletah Webster

For its visually-impaired listeners, a radio show in Montgomery is one of their only connections to current events. Everyday, volunteers known as "radio readers" hit the airwaves at Troy University Public Radio. They read the local newspaper for those who can't read it themselves.

The radio program celebrated its tenth anniversary Monday.

"The visually impaired need to be informed," said WTSU Radio's Joanne Jacobs.

The radio station organized a banquet to celebrate the anniversary and thank the dozens of volunteers who make the reading program possible.

At the banquet, we also met radio listener Loletah Webster, who lost her sight because of a brain tumor. She says she's been listening to the program ever since it began.

Loletah says she enjoys one particular reader, known as Linda, who reads the sports section on Fridays.

"She's always yelling, 'Auburn's doing something!'" she said jokingly. "I always think, they need to do something about her. Linda's getting too hyper!"

And it's not just sports. Listeners get lots of information in the hour-long broadcast, which airs on a sideband channel of WTSU radio, based at Troy University Montgomery.

"[They get] local news, regional news, national news, funerals, even good shopping deals," Jacobs said.

The radio readers program was encouraged by Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins. It has more than 500 listeners in Montgomery, Elmore and Autauga counties.

If you would like to become a listener, you must first get a special radio receiver by calling the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services at 1-800-441-7607.

Reporter: Mark Bullock