What started out as a small network in the 1970s with only ten listeners has now grown to an award winning radio reading service with a Massachusetts listener base of more than 20,000, not including national and international fans.
The Talking Information Center broadcasts the reading of printed material in order to keep the visually impaired and blind informed and Tuesday night they celebrated their 34th birthday.
Susan Price who is on the TIC’s Board of Directors and is legally blind said she’s been a listener for nearly thirty years, “It’s like a lifeline or connection to what’s going on in the world. Sometimes I listen to the books that they read and the newspapers.”
The Massachusetts Commissioner for the Blind Janet LaBreck spoke at the event about the struggles her and her siblings have faced being legally blind, “Understanding politically what’s going on in the world when you can’t read the Wall Street Journal or any of the national newspapers. Not knowing what’s for sale in your local supermarket or CVS store. A lack of that kind of information severely diminishes your ability to feel that connection to your community.”
With the help of Commissioner LaBreck, the Talking Information Center now offers an educational program to increase employment opportunities for the visually impaired and blind.
Executive Director Ron Bersani explained that their VOICE program (vocational opportunities in communication education) is the only one of its kind in the nation, “We actually train visually impaired and blind individuals in communications so they can learn not just to be radio broadcasters but the entire communications field and to develop the kind of skills that will make them an attractive employee.”
Commissioner LaBreck said she’s been a long-time listener of the TIC network and thanked the radio network for keeping her community informed.
(Commissioner Janet LaBreck)