Redhill, East Surrey - Oct 5, 2011 - Redstone-FM, a local non-commercial station for East Surrey that started up in 2005, is making plans for a re-launch early next year on the local DAB system. Redstone isn't an ordinary radio station though, even by non-comm standards. While organizers hope the station will appeal to a wide cross-section of the community, it also hopes to offer opportunities to visually impaired people, and those with other disabilities, by allowing them to produce and present their own radio programs. Radio consultant Des Shepherd, training manager for Redstone FM, explains Redstone FM's goals. "We're a social enterprise and many of our members are blind or partially sighted or have other physical disabilities, and one of the things we are able to do is to give them the opportunity to produce and present radio programs, through training.
"With DAB, you can buy DAB radios. We'll also be online. The radio station itself is for people living in East Surrey. People listening are not going to know the presenter is sitting there with a guide dog at his feet. Radio, in that respect, is a great leveler.
"So what we are doing is offering that opportunity to people - but by necessity we are going to have a lot of other people involved because when you have a lot of people who are visually impaired, they need sighted assistance in terms of reading the computer and things like that.
"We hope to be on air early next year ."