Reading By Ear: 2RPH brings print media to life
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Keegan interviews Station Administrator Liz Moore about how radio station 2RPH helps those who cannot see, handle, or understand printed material.
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Reading By Ear: 2RPH brings print media to life

by Keegan Thomson See Profile
2RPH, Glebe NSW 2037, Australia
21st Jul 2017
Reading By Ear: 2RPH brings print media to life

Reading is something many of us take for granted, so it is easy to forget that it is not accessible to everyone. Radio station 2RPH reads newspapers, magazines and written web content on air for those who cannot see, handle or understand printed material.

Liz Moore is the current station administrator at 2RPH and I sat down with her to chat about the ins and outs of running a community radio station primarily designed for people with vision impairments.

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KEEGAN: 2RHP doesn't read much material from online news outlets. With the decline of print media, is the station looking to expand their reading content to include online publications and newspapers?

LIZ: The funding for 2RPH it is a little complicated. Our funding and our broadcasting license stipulates that we do one thing, and that is to read print materials on air. There are a number of RPH stations across Australia and I think we are all going to have to do some reengineering of what we do.

With online media, you have a situation where you can access a lot of it even if you are a person with a vision impairment. You can have a website read to you via an on-screen reader. So we need to think, in the future do we do something better than that?

I think in terms of the reading of blogs, other websites and print material, there will always be need a for it.

At the moment our readers are restricted to reading printed material, but as printed material declines what they are able to read is going to become less and less. In the future, will the listeners get enough variety? It is a challenge for us. It is a big question.

KEEGAN: Is there any doubt about the longevity of 2RPH?

LIZ: There is still quite a bit of longevity in the journals, newspapers and magazines that are read, but it seems to be the shrinking size of newspapers that is becoming the most pressing issue.

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KEEGAN: Talk me through the processes that go into reading the papers. How much of the paper is actually read live?

LIZ: We don't read the whole newspaper because if it were all read on an air that would take hours. The producers and readers have quite a strict editorial guide that they have to stick to.

They will read everything on the front page, then they might feature a few articles throughout the paper. They will generally then read the editorial, comments and letters.

KEEGAN: Who choses which papers are read on air? Is there an editorial board?

LIZ: One of the questions often asked, is does 2RPH control the editorial content of what the listeners get? If one of the readers has a particular bias towards right wing stories, is that all the listener is going to hear? I would say no, because the reader has to read the whole front page and the whole editorial.

KEEGAN: What kind of publications are being read?

LIZ: We read the major Sydney newspapers like the Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. We also read the Newcastle Herald, because we are broadcast in Newcastle. Some of the magazines we read are Women's Weekly, Nexus and Cosmos. There are also a couple of religious magazines read on air, so we have quite a variety and they are all read to a strict schedule each day.

At this stage, there is no downloading or podcasting of our programed readings. I see that is where we need to go. For me, I'm not really in the position to listen to the Herald every morning at 8am, but I would like to listen to it at a time that suits me. I'm sure there are others who are in the same situation, and I think podcasting is the right way to go in the future.

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KEEGAN: I see your main competition as the ABC. How do the programs on 2RPH differ from the programs on ABC radio?

LIZ: They are all opinion pieces. The ABC is determining their editorial content where as we read the whole paper. Having said that, we work more as a service than as a news outlet. We are giving people access to something they might not otherwise be able to access. We can't all access the Sydney Morning Herald, but we can provide the niche to fill in the market.

We’re not in competition with other news sources, we are more of a news reading outlet. We are not your traditional radio station in any sense of the word.

KEEGAN: Do you have any original content produced here at 2RPH?

LIZ: There are a couple of programs produced here and put to air. They are news-focused, so we have people gather information for them. One of them is Animate. It is about animals as companions, it came out of the whole companion animal and guide dog type of thing. We chose to produce it because it is something our audience is particularly interested in.

KEEGAN: What ways can the community get involved with 2RPH?

LIZ: There are a number of ways people can help out at 2RPH. We are a membership based organisation. People can come onboard as financial backers through a membership. If you do this, you can help determine the future of the station. You can volunteer and help with the operations of the station. Alternatively, you can read, help produce, or even help out in the office if you have the time. It is very rewarding for anyone looking at giving back to the community.

To volunteer or join 2RPH, check our their website.

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Keegan Thomson

About Keegan Thomson

Keegan Thomson is an assistant editor and journalist for The QUO. Keegan has had his work published in The Guardian and The Sydney Morning Herald. He is a community-minded journalist who is always looking for the next story, no matter how big or small it may be. As well as working for The QUO, he works for a number of independent newspapers in Western Sydney including Western News and Nepean News.

More from Keegan Thomson

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Minority Voices
2RPH, Glebe NSW 2037, Australia
21st July 2017

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