The Audio Information Network of Colorado (AINC) has volunteers reading local and national newspapers for blind and visually impaired listeners. (photo courtesy The Audio Information Network of Colorado (AINC)

The Audio Information Network of Colorado (AINC) is the only radio reading service for the blind/visually impaired in Colorado.

In 1990, David Dawson knew there was a need for greater access to information contained in print materials for the blind community. Dawson, who is blind, and a small group of volunteers began reading and recording newspapers, magazines and educational materials on reel-to-reel tapes in a tiny workspace. The Radio Reading Service of the Rockies gave its first broadcast in 1991. It was later renamed The Audio Information Network of Colorado (AINC) and is still the only radio reading service for the blind/visually impaired in Colorado.

The service has since grown to include more than 200 volunteers providing statewide programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Volunteers read from area and national publications, including The Denver Post, The Daily Camera, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor. The program that features reading of grocery ads and discounts is also quite popular. The service broadcasts in both English and Spanish over donated television audio bandwidth from Rocky Mountain Public Media. AINC also provides any equipment listeners may require to access AINC services for free. Dawson realized that not every person has access to a computer with Internet, so he worked with an electrical engineer to design and produce a special pre-tuned digital receiver with an antenna that can be used by itself to access the broadcast.

AINC also focuses on reaching and providing services to the state’s Latino community, led by longtime AINC reader and board president Helen Moran. A former news anchor in South America, Moran moved to Boulder in 1996, obtained a master’s degree in engineering at CU Boulder and is now CEO of Peregrine IT consulting company. Along with Moran, AINC has three bilingual staff members and many Spanish-speaking volunteers who have a strong commitment to expanding outreach and programming for the Latino community.

AINC’s developmental director Dorie Glover says that AINC is working on expanding options for listenership, adding entry points to AINC programming via Tune-In, Facebook, iTunes, WhatsApp and more. “This is the modern challenge,” says Glover. “How to keep these services free and accessible for all.”

—Grant Frickey