EARRS, the Eastern Area Radio Reading Service, made its final broadcast to listeners across the Cape Fear region on Friday.
For the past twelve years, program volunteers read news stories over the radio for listeners with a special receiver carrying the service on a sideband of WHQR.
Many people can’t read the newspaper for a variety of reasons, including visual impairment and Parkinson’s disease.
Former Director Constantina Sears says that EARRS brought comfort to its listeners and provided a sense of community for its volunteers.
“What I will remember is one of our volunteers Pat who lived in Surf City and drove here by herself to read on the radio once a week until she was 94 years old.”
At its peak, EARRS had about 8,000 listeners. That number has dwindled to 300. Sears says that new technology has made the service obsolete.
“You can receive any information by going to any computer, Googling it—there’s just so many other methods and means of information out there. The Triangle Radio Reading Service streams their information. There are a lot of websites that are user-friendly for visually impaired, where you can click a visually impaired icon and hear the website.”
Even though EARRS has disbanded, listeners who still have their receivers can continue tuning in to hear the Triangle Radio Reading Service which provides state and national stories.