WEKU, Radio Eye Join Forces to Help Blind, Visually Impaired

Radio Eye and Eastern Kentucky University have joined forces to make it possible for approximately 17,000 blind and visually impaired people in southeastern Kentucky to receive reading services.

Radio Eye will utilize WEKU transmitters in Hazard, Corbin and Pineville to reach users in southeastern Kentucky. WEKU is the public radio service based at EKU.

Founded in 1988, Radio Eye Inc. is a radio reading service based in Lexington. It broadcasts live and recorded readings of newspapers and other printed material to individuals who are blind, visually impaired or physically handicapped, or those with reading problems due to the natural aging process, surgery or injury.

“Several of our current listeners tell us that before they received our service, they had to rely on family members to read to them, which was not always consistent or convenient,” said Radio Eye Executive Director Amy Hatter. “This allows our listeners a level of independence in how they receive news and information. Additionally, listeners often talk to their doctors about things they hear on our health programs.  Our program impacts health literacy and knowledge, allows listeners to feel less isolated, and gives them greater knowledge of current events.” 

Adding 32 counties will allow more sight-impaired listeners to hear national, state, and local news programming, fiction and nonfiction books, health material, consumer and voter information, and other printed materials read by approximately 150 trained volunteers. One popular show even reads weekly sales deals. Many Radio Eye listeners say they tune in for the companionship and to stay informed.

"Persons with limited or no eyesight have always relied on radio as an important lifeline and source of news, information and entertainment,” said John Hingsbergen, associate manager of WEKU. “WEKU is proud to enhance our service to listeners as we begin this collaboration with Radio Eye. We expect this partnership will be mutually beneficial for Radio Eye, WEKU and, most importantly, to the sight-impaired in previously underserved areas of the Commonwealth."

Hingsbergen added that the partnership with Radio Eye comes at no cost to the station or University and will not affect signal quality for WEKU listeners.

For more information, visit www.radioeye.org or call 859-422-6390.

Published on September 19, 2013