2RPH depends on its 200+ volunteers

Amy Leiper, 7th December 2021

With International Volunteer Day just past, we thought it fit to highlight 2RPH, a not-for-profit community radio station that has been operating as a membership co-operative for 38 years.

The station relies heavily on more than 200 volunteers to provide its radio reading service for people who cannot read independently, handle or understand printed material. The special purpose radio station is funded partly by government grants, membership, fundraising, sponsored messages and corporate support.

With 1.8 million people in NSW with a print disability, they have a large potential audience. Their listening community and volunteer base are intersecting, and represents a unique cohort of people with specific disabilities, their families and carers. Their team of volunteers read from Australian and international media, including daily newspapers and popular magazines and specialty journals. Many of these volunteers have come to 2RPH due to their close lived experience of disability, either directly or through family relationships, or from being a carer.

2RPH’s General Manager, Barry Melville, said: “Age is no barrier to access and participation by our volunteer producers, presenters, readers and schedulers. At 2RPH we have an incredibly adept, skilled and dedicated workforce of more than 200 volunteers from the community, many of whom are of retirement age with levels of professionalism and commitment that are second to none.”

“Our volunteers are an inspiration,” Barry said, “They self-organise, curate material across a fascinating range of topics and print sources and always actively support each other in terms of training and skills development. Their voices are to be treasured…”

2RPH is pivotal to the wider, national RPH Network of 19 stations in metropolitan and regional locations across Australia. 2RPH announcers, readers and content producers make over 212 program titles and most of these are shared with other RPH stations. Its flagship programs are widely available via podcast, and their audiobook products are globally available on electronic platforms.

National research commissioned by the RPH Network shows that between 3-6% of the Australian population tunes into RPH reading services on a weekly/monthly basis. Print disabilities are expected to grow given Australia’s steadily ageing population. Currently, it is estimated that 22% of the population, or. 4.7 million Australians and 1.8 million people in NSW live with a print disability, and a further 47% of the population has low levels of literacy.

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Could your station provide essential information radio programs, like readings from local newspapers, to serve people in your community with a print disability?


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The Board of community radio station, 2RPH, has announced the appointment of Barry Melville to the role of General Manager of the station. The appointment follows the imminent departure of the current General Manager, Sancha Donald.