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WRBH Blog: Our Phone Lines Are Open…

Call Me Maybe?

 Written by Natalia Gonzalez and David Benedetto

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“WRBH! Who am I speaking with?”

I’ve given a lot of thought lately to how much WRBH means to me and also what we mean to other people. While our main mission is to provide a service to the blind, oftentimes we find ourselves serving our listeners in ways we’d never expect.

What do I mean? Well, since we made the schedule changes back in October our phone has been ringing with some regularity. Many of the calls are complimentary – a great book! What a wonderful reader! I love the bumper music!

Or, some let us know there is room for improvement— you didn’t pronounce such and such right or this book is not my favorite, what’s next?

Some, however, are a bit sad.

Once, a caller missed a segment of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath and called us to ask when it would be replayed because it was his favorite book. We knew his voice from before as he had called us many times, but this was the first time he elaborated on his situation: a Vietnam veteran who did not have much mobility and listened to the radio every day so he could have some connection with life outside his house. His call caused all of us to pause and think about the job we do and how positively we impact so many people in such small ways. We arranged to get him a recording of the whole book so he could listen to it at any time.

Just this weekend, Shaun answered a call over from a caregiver who was struggling with her situation. During the course of the call she began to break down and sob. All Shaun could do was listen and offer words and sounds of comfort. I know the call affected him deeply, but at the same time he was glad he could offer a fellow human comfort at a dark time in their lives. Who knows what a difference Shaun’s voice made for this person on the other end of the line that day?

Every service organization, including WRBH, sets off with a clear set of goals in mind— things they wish to accomplish, good they wish to do. While we always strive to accomplish these initial objectives, what makes our work most interesting are the surprises, the effects of your work that you never expected. For WRBH, these intangibles make us a place of comfort for those who are lost, a forum for those in need to vent or a receptacle for those who have something to say and wish for their opinion to be heard. No matter what your reason, our phones will be open 8AM – 2PM, seven days a week.

Except for Tuesday and Wednesday— they’ll be open to 8PM on those days.  


Give us a call at (504) 899-1144 and let us know how we’re doing, what you like, what you don’t like or anything else.

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WRBH 88.3 FM, Radio for the Blind and Print Handicapped, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is the only full-time reading service on the FM dial in the United States. At WRBH, our mission is to turn the printed word into the spoken word so that the blind and print handicapped receive the same ease of access to current information as their sighted peers.

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