The national group that represents radio reading services for the blind and visually impaired, the International Association of Audio Information Services, supports NAB’s efforts to get wireless carriers and cell phone manufacturers to include FM chips in cell phones.
The IAAIS represents radio reading services for blind and visually-impaired persons, which provide free, voice readings of magazines, newspapers, and other publications over FM subcarriers.
The IAAIS called for congressional support, stating in its announcement that having radio-enabled cell phones would be particularly useful in emergencies.
“Having this capability built into devices that are already being used by people with disabilities brings them one step closer to equality and independence,” said IAAIS Government Relations Committee Chair Dave Noble. Because local radio stations are free, a disabled person, who typically makes less than his or her nondisabled peers, won’t have to buy a smartphone and add an expensive monthly data plan, according to Noble, who was busy lobbying lawmakers during the Radio Show.
The IAAIS believes that this proposal deserves even more attention now that a bill to require manufacturers to make cell phones more accessible to people with disabilities.
“News reading services provide a critical information and lifeline resource to people who are visually impaired, and local radio stations are the conduit for making these services possible,” stated NAB EVP Dennis Wharton, commenting on the IAAIS position.