“Alexa, play Niagara Frontier Radio Reading.”
“Hey Google, what’s on Niagara Frontier Radio Reading at 9am?”
Facebook, through its Facebook Journalism Project, has awarded the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service, a WNYIL affiliate, a grant of $24,996 to fund the agency’s new Podcasts & Streaming Initiative.
The Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service (NFRRS) - a full time radio station that was founded to serve people who are blind, have low vision, or have other print-related
disabilities - is expanding its service capacity by introducing podcasts and live streaming to its listeners.
By adding the Internet to its broadcast portfolio, listeners will be able to listen to the programs they want, wherever they are, when they want to, using virtually any Internetconnected device.
The Facebook Journalism Project is working with publishers around the world to help strengthen communities by connecting people with meaningful journalism. Working
with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the Community Network grants were awarded to organizations in support of projects aimed at building community and new paths to
sustainability in local news. In addition to the award, NFRRS will also be matched with industry leaders as well as former or current participants in the Facebook Journalism
Project’s Local News Accelerator to receive mentorship and guidance on specific program outcomes.
The Podcasts & Streaming Initiative received seed funding from the James F. Cummings Foundation and is also being supported by the East Hill Foundation, the Christos Foundation, Ingram Micro, and WNY Independent Living. The project is expected to launch within the next two months.
The Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service was founded to help people who are blind, have low vision, or have other print-related disabilities ‘read’ printed materials. Newspapers,
magazines, books and other print materials are read ‘live’ on-air or recorded for later broadcast by more than 100 active volunteers. The station’s radio signal covers Buffalo,
Western New York and Southern Ontario.
Among the station’s program schedule are live readings of the Buffalo News six days a week and USA Today five days a week. The station also airs the Wall Street Journal, the NY Times, Niagara Gazette, Jamestown Post Journal, Dunkirk Observer, weekly newspapers like the local Bee’s and Business First, a variety of magazines, and books curated from the NY Times Best Seller list.
The broadcast is carried over a subcarrier frequency leased for one dollar a year from WNED 94.5 FM. The radio station’s signal is not available to the general public but can be heard on special radio receivers which are loaned at no charge to NFRRS listeners. While radios will continue to be an important communication tool, the NFRRS expects to see a ten-fold increase in the number of listeners served with the addition of the new program.
The NFRRS is an affiliate of Western New York Independent Living, a community-based non-profit organization that serves more than 7,000 people with disabilities annually through peer counseling, support for independent living, transitional services, advocacy and information & referrals.
The NFRRS is funded primarily through philanthropic contributions and donations, grants, and special events.
For more information, visit:
Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service – www.nfradioreading.org
Facebook Journalism Project grant announcement – www.facebook.com/journalismproject/programs/community-network/grant-winners-january-2020
Lenfest Institute for Journalism - https://www.lenfestinstitute.org
Western New York Independent Living – www.wnyil.org