Glasgow radio station for blind hits one million download target

RNIB See Differently logo

11 December 2019
Source: RNIB Scotland

An award-winning radio station staffed mainly by people with sight loss is celebrating Christmas early this year as they get set to pass the magic 1,000,000 mark of podcast downloads.

RNIB Connect Radio, based in Glasgow but with listeners around the world, was launched by sight loss charity RNIB in 2007 as Europe’s first radio station for and by blind and partially sighted people. It also has satellite studios in London and Cardiff.

The station’s podcast feed is made up of features, interviews and information on living with a sight condition, as well as episodes of the popular shows ‘Tech Talk’, all about accessible technology, and ‘Read On’, the audio-book show.

Station manager Yvonne Milne said: “As a charity, RNIB has reached a huge number of people with a whole range of information that we wouldn’t manage to reach otherwise. One million pieces of information about a whole range of issues concerning sight loss have been downloaded. For a community radio station, this is immense. I wouldn’t think any other community radio station is getting these kinds of numbers or reach.”

Tech Talk was recently recorded at TechShare Pro where presenters sat down with technology companies including Google, Amazon, Sony and BT Sport. Read On regularly hosts top authors and audio-book narrators and has an exclusive hour-long chat with John Le Carre coming soon.

On reaching that magical number, Yvonne said: “RNIB Connect Radio aims to be a one-stop shop for people who are looking for all kinds of information about living with sight loss, whether it be practical solutions to accessibility or hearing the stories of other blind and partially sighted people. I want to thank all our listeners for their support the station and we look forward to providing loads more interesting content in 2020.”

The station broadcasts on Freeview 730, on smart devices and on 101FM in the Glasgow area, and delivers a 24-hour mix of music, news and information. Most of the presenters have sight loss themselves, so are speaking with authority on the subjects they discuss.

The station’s awards include a silver prize in the Sony Radio Academy Awards and praise for producing “some of the most moving and well-produced human-interest content the judges had heard in a long time”.

Right now, it has a daily advent calendar, urging listeners to text SANTA to 70456 to donate £5 to RNIB.

Producer at the station, Robert Kirkwood said, “I’ve been watching the podcast numbers tick up over the past few months and realising we’d hit a million just before Christmas was a great present we all can share.”

Around 170,000 people in Scotland are living with significant sight loss and two million across the UK.

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