Valley Voice is a radio reading service for the visually impaired.
Trained volunteers read aloud portions of newspapers for broadcast.
Around 4,000 listeners each week rely on the service to hear time-sensitive print matter. Listeners are in Harrisonburg, Staunton, Bridgewater, Charlottesville, and portions of the surrounding countryside.
Most listeners hear Valley Voice through Cable TV as the audio background of certain PEG (public / educational / governmental) channels. Valley Voice audio is present for all or part of the day on: Harrisonburg CitySpan, Staunton CitySpan, Charlottesville Public Access TV, and also some in-house stations at retirement homes and adult care facilities. Valley Voice is not responsible for visible text (police most-wanted lists, pet adoption notices, public school lunch menus, etc) which might appear on-screen on such channels; Valley Voice only does audio. The service is not available on Satellite TV.
Medically-qualified people without access to Cable TV may be able to hear the service through specialized single-channel subcarrier radio receivers (known in the broadcast-world as as SCA's). Unfortunately, the airborne SCA signal is weak and is subject to interference from hilly terrain, buildings, and from some broadcast signals. SCA's are loaned out by Valley Voice through the Virginia Department for the Blind and Visually-Impaired (VDBVI) --usually only to those who are already qualified clients of VDBVI. To request assistance from VDBVI about obtaining various services, possibly including delivery of a Valley Voice SCA unit for someone without access to cable TV, the phone number for VDBVI is (540) 332-7729.
(unless preempted by occasional municipal or school items)
At 9 and 4: weekend reviews.
At 10 and 5: Harrisonburg Daily News-Record (portions of).
At 11 and 6: Washington Post (portions of).
At 12 and 7: Richmond Times-Dispatch (portions of)..
At 1 and 8: Charlottesville, Staunton, and Waynesboro dailies as available (portions of).
At 3 (and 9pm only) : assorted weeklies including Page News (portions of).
When scheduling or weather-issues prevent volunteers from appearing, a recording of the show's most recent edition should play in place of the live reading.
Weekend content varies.
JMU WMRA Radio Bldg
983 Reservoir St
Harrisonburg VA 22801
540 568 7884
Interim Director: Al Bartholet
Valley Voice is a department of listener-supported public radio station WMRA, with a broadcast facility on the James Madison University grounds within the WMRA building. The FCC first authorized Valley Voice for broadcast on October 8, 1981, which is considered the Valley Voice's birthday (FCC File BMSCA-81094BA re WMRA). Founders are Jane Fuller and Ron Carrier. The service was only available via SCA units until 1999 when Terry Ward innovated the Cable TV method and began negotiating with municipal authorities operating PEG channels. Some other reading services nationwide are now using the Cable TV method developed at Valley Voice.
Valley Voice and WMRA are both non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations through JMU. Valley Voice does not take charitable contributions directly; rather they are typically given to WMRA with "Valley Voice use" specified in the memo or comment field. Letters thanking Valley Voice donors typically bear WMRA letterhead.
To provide financial and material support to Valley Voice, a private-sector 501(c)(3) boosters organization called Valley Voice Friends was organized in 1998, officially incorporated in 1999, and ran numerous small weekend fundraisers. The Friends became dormant circa 2005-6 and disbanded in late 2010. During its existence, Valley Voice Friends maintained the website ValleyVoice.org which has since gone to new, unrelated ownership.
Valley Voice reads time-sensitive print matter.
Other agencies provide other material.
Staunton Talking Book Center
Note, after a funding dispute with United Way, the Staunton talking book center no longer serves the Rockingham/Harrisonburg region; residents of that area would need to contact the Richmond talking book center. Staunton serves only residents of counties Augusta, Bath, Highland, and Rockbridge --and the cities of Buena Vista, Lexington, Staunton, and Waynesboro.
Virginia's other reading services: