On Air: Radio's vital role for people who are blind or have low vision

14 February 2018

Leading blindness and low vision service provider Vision Australia is using World Radio Day (Tuesday, 13th February) to acknowledge the important role radio plays in the lives of people who are blind or have low vision.

Each and every day, people who are blind or have low vision turn to Vision Australia Radio (VAR) to access the same information and entertainment enjoyed by their sighted counterparts.

Made up of ten community radio stations across Victoria, southern New South Wales, Adelaide and Perth, VAR plays a vital role in connecting people who are blind or have low vision to the wider community.

VAR Network Manager Conrad Browne said, said World Radio Day is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the impact radio has in the lives of people who are blind or have low vision and also educate the wider population.

"For people who are sighted newspapers and magazines, be they hard copy or online, are an easy way to stay in touch with what’s happening in the world and also find some entertainment. For people who are blind or have low vision, accessing those same materials can come with some challenges," Conrad said.

"Like anybody else, people who are blind or have low vision want to know what's going on in the world around them and be part of their local community. Everyday VAR supports them to do that by reading national and local newspapers, magazines, books and more over the air," she said.

Along with reading written material over the air, VAR also produces a range of original content, much of which approaches topics from a blindness and low vision perspective.

"Whether it’s covering sport, technology or just everyday life, VAR provides people who are blind or have low vision with an easy way to hear about the topics that interest them from people who are in a similar situation to them," Conrad said.

"Hearing people from the blind and low vision community share their experiences can be a great way to help motivate others to become involved in sport or community groups or pick up some advice about overcoming some of the everyday challenges that come with living with blindness or low vision."

As well as celebrating how radio supports the blind and low vision community, World Radio Day is an opportunity to recognise those who bring VAR to the air.

"Our presenters, producers and panel operators are volunteers and they deserve some recognition for giving up their time each week to support the blind and low vision community, of which many are a part of."

"A lot of work can go into producing a radio show and I know all of our listeners appreciate that, but it’s important we take the time to actually acknowledge that time and effort."

Head to the Vision Australia Radio website to find out more about the network.

For further information, please contact:
Vision Australia NSW Communications Advisor – Phil McCarroll
T: (02) 9334 3308 / 0416 632 253
E: phil.mccarroll@visionaustralia.org
www.visionaustralia.org

About Vision Australia

Vision Australia is a leading national provider of blindness and low vision services in Australia working in partnership with Australians who are blind or have low vision to help them achieve the possibilities they choose in life.

Vision Australia supports more than 27,500 people of all ages, life stages and circumstances through 28 Vision Australia centres in Victoria, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia and through outreach programs in the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

About Vision Australia Radio

The Vision Australia Radio Network incorporates ten community radio stations across Victoria, southern New South Wales, Adelaide and Perth. There are also five digital radio services available in the three metropolitan areas as VAR, VA Radio and IRIS. Each year, more than 800 volunteers support VAR and provide more than 200 hours of original content. Vision Australia Radio is a licensed community broadcaster and operates in accordance with the Community Broadcasting Codes of Practice and RPH Protocols.