Stephen Jolley – our first Champion for Radio Reading

Radio Reading Champion Stephen Jolley: Smiling man with white hair, shirt and vest in front of a bright red background.

Access to information has the power to transform people’s lives. Access to printed publications often informs opinions and decisions, enabling full participation in society.

However, people with visual, physical or cognitive impairments or low literacy don’t enjoy the same ready access to print media as other Australians.

Stephen Jolley, has spent a lifetime helping to build a national network of radio services dedicated to providing this access to empower the estimated 5 million Australians with a print disability.

RPH Australia honours this contribution by naming Stephen Jolley as our first Radio Reading Champion.

Media Release: Hobart, 30 October 2018.

RPH Australia celebrates 40 years of dedication from one of its founding members and most passionate advocates, Stephen Jolley, as he steps down from a final term on our Board. To honour his immense contribution as a leader in the establishment and growth of RPH broadcasting for people with a print disability, we are proud to announce that Stephen will be our first Ambassador: an RPH Australia Radio Reading Champion.

Stephen’s connection with radio began behind the mic in the 1970’s on the ABC community access station, 3ZZ, as a presenter with “A Blind Affair”, one of the earliest programs for vision impaired people in Australia. He soon broadened his focus to sector funding and development, as a founding member of the Australian Council for Radio for the Print Handicapped (ACRPH), the peak body that later became the RPH Australia Co-operative Ltd. Stephen served on the ACRPH from 1981 until 2009, with two terms as Chair.

Stephen’s commitment to funding support for the growing RPH movement continued through long association with the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF). He served on the CBF Board from 1991 to 2000 as well as on committees supporting RPH broadcasting, digital and online development, and training. He is a current member of the Sector Investment Advisory Committee.

In 1994, Stephen joined Vision Australia (then the Association for the Blind). For 15 years, Stephen led their radio service as it grew from a single Melbourne based metro station, 3RPH, to 8 stations across regional Victoria and NSW. Today, the Vision Australia Radio network of ten stations extends across Victoria and southern New South Wales, Adelaide and Perth, with the digital radio service, IRIS in Melbourne and Adelaide.

Stephen is widely recognised for his advocacy and contribution to the development of RPH services. He received the Blind Citizens Australia David Blyth Award in 1996, the Alex Johnson Award from the Victorian Blind Workers Union in 1989, and in 2015 was honoured by Vision Australia for his significant contribution to the blindness and low vision community. In 2009, Stephen received the CBAA’s Michael Law Award for a sustained and outstanding contribution by an individual to community broadcasting.

Pursuing his life-long love of radio, Stephen still volunteers with Vision Australia Radio, co-presenting the national weekly radio program “Talking Tech”, focussing on developments in mainstream and assistive technology from the perspectives of blindness and low vision.

As information platforms, such as the internet, develop, we must make sure that people who cannot visually read are not left behind. There will always be a place for audio services giving access to information to people with a print disability. Whether delivered via radio programs or podcasts, on mobile, satellite, radio or online platforms, Radio Reading services change lives. Stephen Jolley, RPH Australia Radio Reading Champion.

Stephen Jolley’s passionate commitment to the Radio Reading movement makes him the ideal first Ambassador for RPH Australia.  Vaughn Bennison, Chair, RPH Australia.

RPH Australia looks forward to working with Stephen to build support and recognition for our members’ unique Radio Reading services dedicated to informing and empowering people with a print disability. Marilyn Alborough, CEO, RPH Australia.

About Radio Reading and RPH Australia

RPH Australia is the national peak body for the Radio Reading Network and the voice of print radio in Australia. We champion the rights of all Australians to access published material.

The Radio Reading Network is the only radio service dedicated to providing access to published materials to the estimated 5 million Australians with a print disability. Tune in or support your local Radio Reading station via the RPH Australia website.

For media enquiries or to arrange an interview with our Radio Reading Champion, Stephen Jolley, or the Chair of RPH Australia, Vaughn Bennison, please contact:

CEO, Marilyn Alborough – Phone: 0417 453 643 / Email: marilyn@rph.org.au

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