Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, officially launched 2RPH in the Illawarra last week. This station will provide a lifeline for those with low-vision and low-literacy in the Illawarra.
The concept is simple but effective: volunteers read the day's newspapers on air, along with a variety of other printed material, including a focus on stories of particular interest to people living with disability. The station plays a vital role, enabling those who find reading difficult or impossible to stay up to date with local news and other stories.
Broadcasting on 93.3FM, 2RPH is a community radio station that has been available across Sydney since 1983 and Newcastle and the Hunter for the past 14 years. The expansion to the Illawarra extends the reach of the service to 76% of NSW residents, and the station is part of the wider RPH network, which can trace its origins back to 1975, with stations in many major cities across Australia.
While the digitisation of information improved the accessibility of information for some, Karen Corrigan of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT says that radio still played a crucial role.
"A lot of our clients just can't access text to speech. There are devices, but cost can be a barrier. Radio is a free service that goes straight into your home."
Di Collins, chair of 2RPH, announced a partnership with local paper The Illawarra Mercury, which she described as pivotal to the service being able to keep residents of the Illawarra engaged with the community. The radio station is now looking for volunteers to fill positions and timeslots throughout the day.
During the launch Governor Beazley, who is also the patron of 2RPH, said that a great deal of thanks goes to all those who volunteer for the station.
"For those who are going to put their hands up and volunteer down here in Wollongong and the Illawarra, the difference volunteers have made and continue to make is incalculable."
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