Want to listen to an online radio program but don't have access to a computer? There may be another option for you.
Stow resident Chuck Benjamin, who has been running an online radio show for seven years out of his home, said he was contacted by George Cernat, chief financial officer of AudioNow.com, in early January about working with AudioNow to allow those who do not have a home computer to connect to his online radio show by using their telephones. Benjamin operates Tunedex Memories, which plays music from the 1950s and '60s.
"Apparently, one of my visually challenged listeners in California had been persistent in his quest to get my station on their services," Benjamin said. "I had no knowledge of AudioNow or what they do prior to George contacting me. They provide targeted phone numbers so physically challenged and other people who cannot afford a computer can listen to broadcasts they could not otherwise hear. After a couple conversations with George, it only took about a day, and everything was up and running. I have heard from three blind listeners already, the man in California who got this going, a lady in Michigan and most recently a lady in Peoria, Ill. They are all thrilled that they can hear my station without the need of a computer.
"While I'm sure there are visually challenged people in Stow who may be interested, there are probably even more seniors who don't have computers who might enjoy hearing the music of their youth."
"The number assigned to my station is 415-325-0722," he said. "Calling this number connects you to my stations Internet stream and you hear exactly what you'd hear if you were connected via the Internet with a computer or mobile device."
Benjamin said that he has announcements on the station that warn people that if they're not in the 415 area code or do not have a free long distance plan, they will incur long distance charges for any calls they make.
AudioNow makes radio streams available "for people all over the world," Benjamin said, "and for much bigger programs than I run."
Alexandra Moe, the director of strategic partnerships with AudioNow, said that the company has received positive feedback from the visually impaired community regarding Tunedex.
"What is exciting for us is, with Tunedex, the number of visually impaired listeners who have given us feedback on how easy it is for them to access the radio with this platform," she said. "We are filling a need for those who are otherwise displaced by technology."
Moe said that AudioNow works with about 1,400 broadcast partners. Most of the broadcasters are in the United States, but there are several international ones that have an AudioNow number.
"You can listen to BBC, you can listen to Radio France," Moe said.
Shortly after the Haitian earthquake in 2010, AudioNow "was able to attach a phone number to the one radio station that was not toppled," she said.
"People living in the United States with friends and family in Haiti could call and listen to the radio station for updates on their loved ones," Moe said.
Moe said that those wishing to use the service could use any type of phone, from a smart phone to "an old phone."
Benjamin, who is retired, said he has listeners from 26 states and 16 countries.
"You don't get to hear 50s and 60s music very often," he said. "Everyone should be able to hear the music they grew up with."
For details or to access Benjamin's online radio station, which he says is on seven days a week all day, visit http://www.songsyoushouldhaveheard.com/