I'd never heard of the Central Kentucky Radio Eye service until I happened upon this Herald-Leader news story tonight:
Last Monday, the management at Central Kentucky Radio Eye, the Lexington-based reading service for those physically unable to access the printed word, was informed that the network which provides the satellite feed for the majority of CKRE's 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. broadcast was to cease all service Sept. 30.
Margarget Chase, executive director at CKRE, immediately sent out letters to her 80 area volunteers explaining how devastating this will be for the blind and disabled across the country who depend on the InTouch Network, a service funded by the Jewish Guild for the Blind for 32 years.
Determined not to have any dead air over CKRE's airways, Chase and her staff created a plan to continue 24-hour service to the 3,000 customers they serve in Kentucky.
"What we are going to do is step up our own programming," Chase said. In the beginning, some shows might have to be repeated, she said.
"I have lots of ideas for new programming," she said, some of which will be heard Oct. 1.
I find it fascinating that such a specialty radio station has existed all these years and I never even knew about it. CKRE broadcasts on a closed-circuit frequency, and to receive it you need their special pre-tuned radio, which they are happy to supply. (CKRE requests a one-time $25 user fee, but if you're unable to afford it, there's a good chance they'll just give you one anyway!) The CKRE broadcast can be heard in an approximate 80 mile radius outwards from Lexington, reaching as far as Owenton in the north, Berea in the south, Bardstown in the west, and Beattyville in the east.
You might ask, isn't all radio sort-of ideal for the sight-impaired? Well, what's super-special about CKRE is that they broadcast people reading local and national newspapers. Listeners can hear readings from such publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Readers Digest, Christian Science Monitor, etc. Pertinent info from local papers like the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal are also read aloud for listeners.
They also provide a live internet streaming broadcast - listen to it here. Since they're looking to fill all that time with their own self-generated programming, I wonder if they'd let me bring back my old "Late, Late Show" radio program and play stuff like Henny Hendrickson's Louisville Serenaders and Cornelia Froboess records?