08.20.18

Grantee Spotlight: Audio Information Network of Colorado

One of the nation’s leading resources for blind, visually impaired, and other print-disabled individuals, the Audio Information Network of Colorado (AINC) – a grantee of Community Foundation Boulder County – provides its listeners, also including Spanish speakers, with free access to recorded programming around the clock.

 
“We’ve offered audio access to print publications for the past 28 years,” says Kim Ann Wardlow, AINC Assistant Executive Director. “With recorded content from over 100 newspapers and magazine articles, our statewide programs provide more than 1,500 listeners with everything from national news to local news and community events.”
 
Indeed, AINC – the only service of its kind in Colorado – allows registered listeners to access audio programs online, through downloaded podcasts, on their TVs, or over the phone. Bandwidth and transmitters are provided by Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Service to ensure that AINC’s signal spans our entire state.
 

AINC relies on a network of volunteers.

AINC relies on a network of volunteers.

AINC relies on a network of volunteers.

“We understand that local and community information is the most difficult to access for the blind, and for individuals who have lost their vision, or due to some other condition, like having had a stroke, or living with MS, Parkinson’s, or a learning disability,” continues Kim. “About 230 volunteers across the state read items like local news, magazines, grocery and discount ads, information about senior living, and other day-to-day items at no cost to our approximately 1,400 registered listeners … the kind of daily community information that doesn’t make it to radio and TV.”
 
Listeners are provided easy-to-use, pre-tuned receivers on permanent loan. “Our receivers just plug in and pull the signal right out of the air, without requiring a computer or Wi-Fi,” explains Kim. “Or, you can call in toll-free and listen to any of our broadcasts, including a Spanish broadcast, and our Information-On-Demand system.”
 
Speakerphones and MP3 players are also provided at no cost upon request. Additionally, Livestreaming of all AINC broadcasts is available on the AINC website. “Some folks want to use the latest technologies, and others don’t want to deal with a computer,” continues Kim. “We try to provide choice to accommodate all kinds of requests, circumstances, and needs.”
 
Similarly, volunteers have the option of working from the AINC studios in Boulder, or from their computers with software from AINC. “More recently, we’ve been able to provide microphones so that people can record content on their smartphones,” adds Kim. “We want to make it possible for anyone who wants to volunteer, to be able to do so.”
 
While AINC provides programming for all ages, most of its listeners are 60-plus. That said, Kim notes a recent shift toward younger, Spanish-speaking listeners. “Some listeners may not be fluent in English … and some may not have had the opportunity to learn to read, even in their native language,” she adds. “So we also provide information about school districts, and immigrant information. We’re recognizing a greater need in this area of our programming.”
 
To date, however, Rocky Mountain PBS hasn’t been able to provide additional space for AINC’s Spanish broadcasts. “That means, the simplest form of listening to our content – that doesn’t require a phone or Internet access – isn’t currently available for Spanish speakers,” Kim says. “We’re continuing to explore low-tech ways for this audience to access our programming.”
 
To learn more, to donate, or to volunteer, visit the AINC website.
 

David Dawson, AINC Executive Director & Founder

David Dawson, AINC Executive Director & Founder

David Dawson, AINC Executive Director & Founder