SSM.Autumn 2020 Star Issue

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23 The Talking Information Center (TIC) has been providing broadcasts of local news, articles and items of interest to visually impaired and otherwise disabled listeners throughout Massachusetts for over 40 years. The studio is housed in 95.9 FM WATD's Marshfield studio, and each week approximately 200 volunteers record programming from a wide variety of print-based sources: national and local newspapers, current affairs publications, consumer information, entertainment and community-based announcements. It has long been a priceless source of knowledge and interconnection for its over 30,000 listeners, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made TIC's services even more important. "Our listenership has tripled since the coronavirus lockdown began in March," says TIC's Executive Director, Anna Dunbar. "The quarantine has highlighted how very painful and detrimental isolation can be for people; and even when there is not a pandemic, many of our listeners are isolated due to their disabilities. Hearing the voices of our volunteers and getting that human interaction is so important." David d'Arcangelo, Commissioner, and Meg Robertson, Director of Orientation and Mobility, of The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind recorded crucial public service announcements about COVID specifically for TIC's listeners. Says Dunbar, "These announcements address particular obstacles that emerge in the low vision community. Without hearing about pandemic protocol, listeners might not know about mask requirements, or that they will need someone guide them along arrows at the grocery store; things that even a service animal would not be able to navigate. We keep people apprised of Center for Disease Control updates, and By Erica Ford Senator Markey's office released a 40-page document that outlined the CARES Act in layman's terms, which our fantastic program director, Julie Cockerham, recorded." TIC's incredible volunteers have lent their voices even during the shutdown, thanks to computer software that allows them to record material from home: circulars, supermarket flyers, legislative updates, news from The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, The Patriot Ledger and The Marshfield Mariner, O Magazine, People, The South Shore Magazine, The Economist, bestselling fiction and nonfiction books and more. TIC is always asking itself, "What do our listeners want to hear?" Volunteers also have fun doing live theater performances of famous radio plays every quarter. Not wanting to let listeners down during quarantine, the volunteers figured out how to perform it virtually. You can hear the plays on their website, TIC holds its Triple Crown virtual fundraiser show on October 2nd from 6:15 to 8pm. Local talent Candy O'Terry hosts the event, which also features local comedian John Turco and singing sensation Abigail Vail. The fantastic raffle includes cash prizes of up to $5,000. You can always lend your support and donate online. "We are so grateful for our supporters, staff and volunteers," says Dunbar. "In June, our devoted staff helped raise $30,000 through a virtual fundraiser. Thanks to everyone's efforts, our listeners start their day with TIC and end their day with TIC." TIC is always seeking volunteers with the ability and willingness to lend their voices. If you're interested, visit or call 781.834.4400. Talking Information Center's Voices are Keeping our Low Vision Community Connected

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