The KPBS Radio Reading Service broadcasts the readings of newspapers, books and magazines to those with low vision, blindness and other impairments. Airing 24 hours a day over a private audio channel, the Reading Service is accessible to qualified recipients in San Diego through a specialized radio, and online via audio webstream. All readings are produced by volunteers.

To have a Listener Information & Application Packet sent to you or someone you know, please leave a mailing address on our voicemail system: (619) 594-8170

Donate

The KPBS Radio Reading Service is a self-sustaining operation. We're a department of KPBS, but the Reading Service's annual operation budget is dependent on public donations. So we really could use your help! When making your charitable donations or planning your estate, please keep the KPBS Radio Reading Service in mind. If you would like to send a donation, checks can be made payable to the KPBS Reading Service and mailed to:


KPBS Reading Service

5200 Campanile Dr.

San Diego, CA 92182


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Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't I hear the Reading Service on a regular radio?

In consideration of potential copyright issues and due to cost factors, the Reading Services delivers programming over a source closed to the general public. The closed access channel used to do this is called a sub-channel or closed radio frequency. A specially tuned radio, obtained through the Reading Service, is needed to receive the the sub-channel. Unfortunately, the radios aren't usually sold through general retail outlets but can be obtained directly through the Reading Service after an application is completed.

Who qualifies for the service?

Anyone who has difficulty reading print. That would include those who are blind, have partial vision, a physical disability, a debilitating illness (i.e. Alzheimer's), or other condition. We have a wide range of listeners, but the majority of our audience consists as seniors who have limited vision and varying degrees of difficulty in reading small print (especially the small font sizes typical in newspapers and other publications). The program is open to any age though we warn parents to monitor their children's listening times as some of our readings contain adult content (like our book readings). The sub-channel radio service usually only reaches cities and communities of San Diego. While use of the sub-channel radio is limited to qualified recipients in San Diego, our live web stream is open to all qualified individuals, regardless of location.

Will the radio service work in my area?

If you live in San Diego or nearby surrounding cities and communities of San Diego, there's a good chance it will. Generally our signal doesn't reach more than 60 miles outside of San Diego. If you are wondering if our signal would reach your area, here's a test you can do to see if the service might work for you or someone else: check to see if you can receive KPBS-FM, 89.5 (for some in La Jolla that may be 89.5 or 89.1) on a standard radio. KPBS-FM is a public broadcasting station with news, information and interview programs -- it is our sister station and is not the Reading Service. If you are able to get KPBS-FM, you probably will be able to receive the signal of the KPBS Radio Reading Service using our special radio. Unfortunately, if you are unable to get KPBS-FM, you probably will not be able to receive the signal of the Reading Service. However, besides our live web stream, there is an alternative source: Newsline San Diego delivers newspaper readings over the phone using a synthetic voice. No special equipment is necessary other than a regular touch-tone phone. The service, which is not affiliated with KPBS, is offered free of charge through the San Diego County Library. Their number is 858-694-2108.

How does the radio work?

It works like any other radio with the biggest difference being that by using a single switch on the unit, the reading service automatically broadcasts without any tuning involved. All of our radios have an earphone plug, but earphones aren't provided. Most regular headsets will fit, but if your particular earphones don't fit, an inexpensive 3/4 inch earphone adapter can be purchased from Radio Shack or any other major electronic retail store.

How long can the radio be used?

As long as you wish. The sub-channel radio (needed to hear the service) is the property of the KPBS Radio Reading Service and is considered a lifetime loan (regardless of whether a donation is made to cover the cost of the receiver or not). If the radio is no longer used at any point, we ask that someone return it so that another new listener may use it. The radios can be returned by mail, free of postage, or dropped off.

How do I get the service?

Fill out our application and mail it in so we can send you the necessary custom radio. We can send you an application/information packet if you leave your name and address on our voicemail line: 619-594-8170. Anyone can fill out the application, not just the individual who wants the service. A medical professional's authorization is not needed.

How is the Reading Service funded?

KPBS provides some of our support but we rely heavily on the generosity of civic groups, philanthropists and individual donations. When making your financial gifts or planning your estate, please keep the Reading Service in mind.

How long has the service been around?

Since 1975. The service started with a handful of volunteers and less than 10 listeners. We now serve a few thousand listeners throughout the San Diego community and our diverse volunteer roster includes nearly 150 volunteers. There about 125 similar reading services throughout the U.S and a few other internationally.

How do I volunteer and what's involved?

Prospective volunteers must meet our general requirements, pass a brief reading audition and come in to our KPBS Reading Service studios at San Diego State University for their reading assignments. Most of our volunteers read live newspapers aloud, with some recording other local publications. Please see our volunteer section for more information.

Since you're on 24 hours a day, are volunteers there around the clock?

No. We only broadcast locally through the day and switch over to other reading service networks in the afternoon. Our volunteers are generally here at various times between 9:00 a.m and 4:00 p.m, seven days a week.

How do I contact the Reading Service?

Call 619-594-8170. To volunteer, please read the instructions on our volunteer section before calling. Mailing address:

KPBS Reading Service

5200 Campanile Dr.

San Diego, CA 92182


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Schedule

Monday

12:00 am - Pet Pause

12:30 am - Health Report

1:00 am - At Home

2:00 am - Consumer Hour

3:00 am - National Review / Weekly Standard

4:00 am - People Magazine

4:30 am - Science & Technology

5:00 am - Science Fiction Hour

6:00 am - Good Old Days

6:30 am - AARP Report

7:00 am - Apple a Day

8:00 am - New Yorker

9:00 am - National Geographic

9:30 am - San Diego Union-Tribune

12:00 pm - Los Angeles Times

2:00 pm - Wall Street Journal

3:00 pm - New York Times

4:00 pm - Washington Post

5:00 pm - North County Times

5:30 pm - Health Report

6:00 pm - O Magazine

7:00 pm - Key Strokes

8:00 pm - Aging Gracefully

9:00 pm - Christian Science Monitor

9:30 pm - USA Today (Life & Money sections)

10:00 pm - Travel Hour

11:00 pm - Science & Technology

11:30 pm - Food and Stuff

Tuesday

12:00 am - Diabetes News

12:30 am - Health Report

1:00 am - Sports

2:00 am - Commentary

3:00 am - The Economist

4:00 am - Poetry

4:30 am - Science & Technology

5:00 am - National Enquirer

6:00 am - International Hour

7:00 am - In the Kitchen

8:00 am - Readers Digest Hour

9:00 am - San Diego Letters to the Editor

9:30 am - San Diego Union-Tribune

12:00 pm - Los Angeles Times

2:00 pm - Wall Street Journal

3:00 pm - New York Times

4:00 pm - Washington Post

5:00 pm - North County Times

5:30 pm - Health Report

6:00 pm - Column One (L.A Times' Column One features)

7:00 pm - World Safari

8:00 pm - Famous - Infamous

9:00 pm - Christian Science Monitor

9:30 pm - USA Today (Life & Money sections)

10:00 pm - Money Matters

11:00 pm - Science & Technology

11:30 pm - Utne Reader

Wednesday

12:00 am - Historically Speaking

12:30 am - Health Report

1:00 am - The Pet Hour

2:00 am - Living at Home

3:00 am - African American Hour

4:00 am - National Geographic

4:30 am - Science & Technology

5:00 am - Both Sides of the Aisle

6:00 am - Touching the Future

7:00 am - Multicultural Press

8:00 am - Aging Gracefully

9:00 am - Voice of San Diego (articles from VoiceofSanDiego.org)

9:30 am - San Diego Union-Tribune

12 pm - Los Angeles Times

2:00 pm - Wall Street Journal

3:00 pm - New York Times

4:00 pm - Washington Post

5:00 pm - North County Times

5:30 pm - Health Report

6:00 pm - Consumer's News

7:00 pm - Vons Supermarket Ads

7:20 pm - Ralphs Supermarket Ads

7:40 pm - Albertsons Supermarket Ads

7:55 pm - Sprouts Supermarket Ads

8:00 pm - Kiosk Internationale

9:00 pm - Christian Science Monitor

9:30 pm - USA Today (Life & Money sections)

10:00 pm - Magizine Rack (various)

11:00 pm - Science & Technology

11:30 pm - Looking Back

Thursday

12:00 am - Smithsonian

12:30 am - Health Report

1:00 am - Art Fare

2:00 am - Audio Book News

2:30 am - Body & Soul

3:00 am - Consumer's News

4:00 am - The Lighter Side

4:30 am - Science & Technology

5:00 am - Key Strokes

6:00 am - O Magazine

7:00 am - U.S. News & World Report

8:00 am - Encyclopedia of the Air

9:00 am - San Diego Business News

9:30 am - San Diego Union-Tribune

12 pm - Los Angeles Times

2:00 pm - Wall Street Journal

3:00 pm - New York Times

4:00 pm - Washington Post

5:00 pm - North County Times

5:30 pm - Health Report

6:00 pm - New Yorker

7:00 pm - The Pet Hour

8:00 pm - Both Sides of the Aisle

9:00 pm - Christian Science Monitor

9:30 pm - USA Today (Life & Money sections)

10:00 pm - The Economist

11:00 pm - Science & Technology

11:30 pm - AARP Report

Friday

12:00 am - People Magazine

12:30 am - Health Report

1:00 am - Money Matters

2:00 am - World Safari

3:00 am - The Weight Loss Show

4:00 am - The Diabetes Show

4:30 am - Science & Technology

5:00 am - Short Stories

6:00 am - Bookcase

7:00 am - The Week

8:00 am - Magizine Rack (various)

9:00 am - San Diego Events

9:30 am - San Diego Union-Tribune

12 pm - Los Angeles Times

2:00 pm - Wall Street Journal

3:00 pm - New York Times

4:00 pm - Washington Post

5:00 pm - North County Times

5:30 pm - Health Report

6:00 pm - Multicultural Press

7:00 pm - Living at Home

8:00 pm - Science Fiction Hour

9:00 pm - Christian Science Monitor

9:30 pm - USA Today (Life & Money sections)

10:00 pm - Commentary

11:00 pm - Science & Technology

11:30 pm - National Geographic

Saturday

12:00 am - The Lighter Side

12:30 am - Health Report

1:00 am - Column One (in-depth features: L.A Times' Column One)

2:00 am - National Enquirer

3:00 am - New Yorker

4:00 am - Oprah

4:30 am - Science & Technology

5:00 am - Famous - Infamous

6:00 am - Women's Hour

7:00 am - Men's Hour

8:00 am - Kiosk Internationale

9:00 am - San Diego City Beat magazine

9:30 am - San Diego Union-Tribune

12:00 pm - Los Angeles Times

2:00 pm - To Your Health

3:00 pm - Parenting

4:00 pm - African American Hour

5:00 pm - North County Times

5:30 pm - Health Report

6:00 pm - Sports Illustrated

7:00 pm - Science of Our Times

8:00 pm - The Week

9:00 pm - Cook's Corner

9:30 pm - Poetry

10:00 pm - U.S. News & World Report

11:00 pm - Science & Technology

11:30 pm - Smithsonian

Sunday

12:00 am - Audio Book News

12:30 am - Health Report

1:00 am - Consumer's Advocate

2:00 am - Readers Digest Hour

3:00 am - Animal Watch

4:00 am - Body & Soul

4:30 am - Science and Technology

5:00 am - Reading Room

6:00 am - Sports

7:00 am - Devotions

8:00 am - Business Week

9:00 am - San Diego Reader

9:30 a.m. - San Diego Union-Tribune

12 pm - Los Angeles Times

2:00 pm - The Economist

3:00 pm - In the Kitchen

4:00 pm - Search & Discover

5:00 pm - North County Times

5:30 pm - Health Report

6:00 pm - International Hour

7:00 pm - Art Fare

8:00 pm - Touching the Future

9:00 pm - Historically Speaking

9:30 pm - Parade

10:00 pm - Encyclopedia of the Air

11:00 pm - Science & Technology

11:30 pm - Short Stories


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Newspaper Readings

San Diego Union-Tribune

9:30 a.m. - Section A (begins with front page articles)

10:00 a.m. - Our Region (San Diego, California)

10:30 a.m. - Op-Ed

10:50 a.m. - Business

11:05 a.m. - Horoscopes

11:10 a.m. - Dear Abby

11:15 a.m. - General Features

11:30 a.m. - Comics

11:35 a.m. - TV Listings

11:40 a.m. - Sports

Los Angeles Times

12:00 p.m. - Section A (begins with front page articles)

12:30 p.m. - California

1:00 p.m. - Editorials & Opinion

1:25 p.m. - Features (Ask Amy)

1:45 p.m. - Business

Note: The above selections are read daily by volunteers of the KPBS Radio Reading Service. Readings may vary during holidays, when volunteers are unavailable, or from other technical issues.


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Volunteer

With the help of nearly 150 readers, volunteers are essential to our service. Prospective volunteers must meet our general requirements and come in to our KPBS Reading Service studios at San Diego State University for their reading assignments. Our unique program benefits thousands of listeners, and we hope you'll consider lending your voice.


Getting Started

When we have reading positions open up, the first thing we do is contact prospective volunteers from our Volunteer Waiting List. Interested in being added to that list? Here's the process: First, read through our volunteer requirements and background information. If you meet the specified requirements and are still interested, then read the subsequent 'Waiting List Directions' for contact instructions.


Note: Length of waits are difficult to predict, at times varying from a couple of weeks to a few months or longer. Though a first step towards becoming a reader for our program, not all who add their names to our waiting list are ensured of a future volunteer position.


Reader Requirements

One year minimum commitment -- This helps us cut down on the amount of turnover and time spent on bringing in (and training) new volunteers. Thus, our volunteer program wouldn't be a good fit for those with work or class schedules that will soon change, those planning to move out of town in the next year, those looking for work whose availability could change upon finding employment, etc.


Minimum Age = 21 -- Many of our listeners prefer hearing adult voices reading materials aloud. In addition, with changing class schedules each quarter or semster, high school and college students are usually not able to meet the one year requirement mentioned above.

9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., or 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. -- Able to come in to our Radio Reading Service studios at KPBS on the campus of San Diego State University two to three times a month for either a weekday or weekend shift of 9:30 am - 12 noon or 12 - 2 pm (a few reading spots are just for once a month or as occasional subs). SDSU is located off Interstate 8 in the College Area just before La Mesa.


Most common assignments


(1) On call or regular live newspaper readings with a partner on either The U-T San Diego (9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.) or the Los Angeles Times (12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.), trading off every other article, up to five minutes at a time.

(2) Solo 30-minute to one-hour recorded readings of other local publications. Shifts start at either 9:30 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. for these readings as well. Though they typically last no more than one hour, volunteers who read alone for pre-recorded publications still must be available to occasionally fill in for an additional one to two hours (following their recording), providing fill in assistance on live newspaper readings in an adjacent studio if one of two readers there wasn't able to come in at the last minute (rare).


Have home Internet access & email -- This requirement is due to the fact that training materials, reader backup lists, many volunteer communications, etc. are provided online.


 

Willing to find own temporary replacements -- When unavailable to come in for scheduled readings (except in cases of personal emergencies). This is done using an on-call reader mass email list available online at a password protected site.


(1) Readers who can't come in go to a private website we've provided with a list of more than 25 email addresses of 'sub' readers.

(2) The entire email list is copied, then pasted into the 'bcc' section of a personal email then sent out in mass requesting a fill-in reader.

(3) The first on call reader to respond fills in; one last mass email is then sent updating everyone that the opening has been filled.


Able to have a regular assignment -- Those who start off as on-call readers should be willing to move into a regularly scheduled position (no more than 2 - 3 x a month) if one becomes available. Some readers start off on-call, others begin with regular assignments, depending on what is open at the time. If you start off as an on-call or 'sub' reader, you should be willing to move into a regular slot if one eventually becomes available (though subs often move into regular spots, future regular positions aren't guaranteed).


Regular out of town travel does not exceed more than a few times a year -- Many of our volunteers travel occasionally, which is fine, and line up their own subs using our online sub email system when they know ahead of time they'll be out of town. Traveling regularly, say every month or even every other month, would not work with our scheduling.


Whew! Still interested after reading all this? Great, thank you for hanging in there! Since you got this far, it looks like you could be a good fit for our program. So let's go ahead and add you to our volunteer waiting list.


Volunteer Waiting List

 

To be placed on our Volunteer Waiting List, please call and leave us a voicemail with the information requested below. As we do not have a full time staff member and in order to help run our operations more efficiently, we will not be able to respond to your initial message of volunteer interest. Instead, upon receiving your voicemail, we'll automatically enter you into our database. If a reading spot opens up in the future that matches your availability and our needs, we'll follow up and contact you with more details at that time. We're sorry that in most cases we won't be directly responding (unless there is a current opening). We hope you understand that this process saves us a great amount of time over the long run, freeing us up to better focus on operating our service. Note: The last thing from the list you'll leave on our voicemail is a quick reading sample. This gives us an idea of the kind of reading you might be best suited for, should we have an opening for you in the future.


(1) - Call 619-940-6411

(2) - After beep prompt, include the following information on our voicemail:

(a) - Your name, and let us know you're interested in volunteering.

(b) - Mention you've visited our website and meet all of our volunteer requirements.

(c) - State which shift(s) below you're available and on which day(s) of the week:

- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

- 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

- 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

- If flexible, let us know you're available any shift on any day.

(d) - Provide up to 2 phone numbers of the best places to reach you, including cell # if you have one.

(e) - Email address.

(f) - Please read aloud the pronunciation list below, followed by the SPAM reading sample (for tips on what we're looking for, see the bottom of this section):

  • façade
  • Ehud Barak
  • Chechnya
  • Mogadishu
  • arduous
  • Rod Blagojevich
  • choreography
  • exasperate

(g) SPAM Reading Sample: "Sure, to many folks, SPAM is a joke, immortalized in Monty Python routines. But that doesn't mean the all-American mystery meat doesn't taste great, or so some say. The modern-day obsession with health, the "Tofuization' of America has taken much of the fun out of eating."


Done! You can hang up.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Again, we won't be responding to your message/reading sample and will only contact you if we have a future opening for you. Whether we're able to make use of your generous offer to read for us at some point or not, you have already been a big help in patiently reading through all of this, leaving us your message and adding your name to our waiting list. We really appreciate that!

 

Reading Tips

Style of reading: casual, conversational with a lot of inflection and a nice slow (but not too slow), steady pace. Try not to sound like a news anchor. Pretend you're reading to someone you know in your living room. Inflect a bit more on adjectives, things or phrases that stand out, etc. You shouldn't get caught up and concentrate too heavily on inflection though. Your reading should flow smoothly without frequent hesitations.


Relax. We're not looking for a perfect reading, especially since this material wasn't composed to be read out loud. Overall, we're looking for good pronunciation and a reading style that's easy to follow.


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