CGR Radio Networks and the Northwest Audio Information Service in Vancouver, Wash., serve blind, visually impaired and older listeners with news and entertainment programming.
We told you about these services shortly after owner Gerald Gaule launched them seven years ago. He describes them as a labor of love.
Gaule worked under the late Jerry Delaunay at the former Golden Hours radio reading service of Oregon Public Broadcasting for 13 years. He credits him with helping influence his interest in public service broadcasting. Gaule is not only the owner of CGR/NAIS but the program director, music director and chief engineer, running these streams from his home.
Now a member of the International Association of Audio Information Services, CGR-NWAIS Radio has three online streams, all heard on the Voscast online platform. The main service also is carried on FM subcarriers of KFAE(FM) in Richland, Wash., and KPBX(FM) Spokane.
We caught up with Gaule to ask about how the project is going.
Radio World: Describe your operations.
Gerald Gaule: There are three services. Number One is the main service, offering news, information, community, educational and entertainment programming from many sources such as The IAAIS Program Share, ACB Radio, Pacifica Archives and more, as well as programming in over 40 languages for the blind from book readings, etc. Old-time radio and nostalgia are offered.
I also offer local news and programming that is not offered by any LPFM, and I try to think outside the box.
RW: How many people do you think you reach?
Gaule: I would say 900 to 1,200 listeners per day between the stations.
The numbers are nice, but even if there is only one and if I make a difference for a few minutes, if something they like made their day, it is priceless.
Listener ages are anywhere from 54 to 90.
RW: These seem like hard times for radio reading services. What’s your secret?
Gaule: It is very hard times. My operations are run from my apartment; I handle all the roles, from engineer to MP, PD, OM and all; and I work from here due to health and disability issues. Overhead is very low.
RW: How has the pandemic affected what you do?
Gaule: It has not affected me that since I work from home and even before it.
RW: What else should we know?
Gaule: It is a simple operation trying to go above and beyond. I am always looking to expand, to grow beyond the two FM stations KFAE and KPBX on their 67 kHz SCAs. I’d like to partner with any cable access channel or even through a TV digital sub channel, even for a few hours a day.