This past Wednesday I had the chance to volunteer in a very unique and meaningful way at Sun Sounds of Arizona. I read the local newspaper live on the radio. The radio is broadcast to listeners all over northern Arizona. People sign up as a listener because they have disability (such as vision loss) which prevents them from being able to read. As I read the articles I thought about men and women sitting next to their radios, like in the days before television, listening intently to get the latest news.
Some volunteer readers struggle to remember that there is actually a person out there depending on them to read the news. From 2006-2007 I worked as the Sun Sounds Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. It was my job to deliver radio receivers to listeners, meet with listeners, and get feedback from listeners about the programming. For me, I am not just talking into a microphone in a studio, I am sitting next to Mary and Joe on a couch in their living room speaking directly to them.
There are radio reading services in every state, and reading for them as a volunteer is a really great way to serve your community. The ideal reader has a clear speaking voice, a great grasp of vocabulary, and is comfortable speaking for up to two hours with short breaks. Most of the Sun Sounds programs are done live, but there are a few that are recorded which takes a bit of the pressure off if you make a mistake or need to cough. The other woman I was reading the news with had been a volunteer reader for 20 years!
I appreciated this opportunity to share my reading talents and hope to do so again soon.