The Nation's Blind Podcast highlights different themes related to blindness, independent living, and news from the National Federation of the Blind.
Hosts: Anil Lewis, executive director of the NFB Blindness Initiatives department, and Melissa Riccobono, president of the Maryland Parents of Blind Children division and First Lady of the NFB.
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For episodes of our special series dedicated to blind parents, please visit the Blind Parents Connection Podcast page.
May 6, 2021 – Spectrum Access: Audio Description to Go
In this episode, Anil and Melissa talk with Petr Kucheryavyy, senior manager at Charter Spectrum’s Product Accessibility Center of Excellence, about Spectrum Access, a free and innovative smartphone app for both iOS and Android that uses audio synchronization to allow you to hear audio description for a variety of content without regard to source or streaming platform, even if you are not a Spectrum customer. Petr explains how the app works, talks about its expanding library of over 500 movies and shows and counting, and briefly touches on other efforts that Charter Spectrum is making to incorporate accessibility across its services. For more information, you can contact: Spectrum Access inbox: [email protected] Spectrum’s Disability Support Desk: 1-844-762-1301 Spectrum’s Product Accessibility Center of Excellence: [email protected]
April 23, 2021 - And the Audio Description Goes to…
In this episode, Anil and Melissa talk with Rick Boggs, CEO and general manager of AudioEyes. He has breaking news about a forthcoming event with live audio description (AD) provided through a partnership among his company, Vitac, and a major television network, with sponsorship from Google. You’ll want to listen right away so you won’t miss the big event! You may even want to issue the Audio Description Challenge to a friend and watch it together. Rick also talks about AudioEyes, the only company providing audio description that is run and staffed by blind people, and the differences between live and pre-recorded audio description, as well as providing some interesting information about the history and craft of AD.
April 14, 2021 – Diversity and Inclusion in the National Federation of the Blind
In this episode, Anil and Melissa talk with Colin Wong, who co-chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the National Federation of the Blind. Colin talks candidly about his own lived experiences as a blind Asian American, including the conflict between the “model minority” myth and low expectations for the blind in both the Asian community and among the general public. He also talks about why intentional diversity and inclusion efforts are important in the National Federation of the Blind and what members can do to get involved in and enhance the committee’s work.
March 18, 2021 – A Conversation with the National Federation of the Blind Survivor Task Force
Content warning: This episode of the Nation’s blind podcast discusses abuse and sexual assault. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, you are not alone. The National Sexual Assault Hotline offers free, confidential support, 24/7, at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or online.rainn.org. In this episode, Anil and Melissa talk with Marci Carpenter and Daphne Mitchell of the NFB Survivor Task Force. They discuss the role of the task force in helping to advance a safer culture in our organization. They also explore related topics including: Who is a survivor? Why might blind people in particular struggle with the concepts of boundaries and consent, and what other specific challenges do blind survivors face? What is grooming, and what role do power dynamics play in making people vulnerable to it? For the latest information about survivor-led change within the National Federation of the Blind and additional resources, visit nfb.org/survivors.
February 2, 2021 – Meet Blindness Tech Pioneer Dean Blazie
On this episode, Anil and Chris talk with Dean Blazie, who has been working with blind people to develop technology we can use since the 1960s. They discuss how Dean got involved in working with blind people through his relationship with Tim Cranmer; how initial ideas they worked on developed into products for blind people; and the origins of the Braille’n’Speak, the pioneering Braille notetaker that took the blind community by storm in the late 1980s and paved the way for similar devices in use today.
December 7, 2020 – DeafBlind and Living the Lives They Want
In this episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast, Anil and Chris Danielsen talk with Alice Eaddy, president of the Deafblind Division of the National Federation of the Blind, and Marsha Drenth, the division’s first vice-president. These two accomplished women discuss how they live the lives they want as deafblind individuals; explain concepts such as captioning, tactile signing, and support service providers (SSPs); and give tips for respectful and inclusive interactions with deafblind people. Also: Read Marsha Drenth’s article in the December 2020 Braille Monitor.
- December 7, 2020 – DeafBlind and Living the Lives They Want
- December 7, 2020 – DeafBlind and Living the Lives They Want Transcript
November 10, 2020 – The Continued Fight for Fair Wages
On this episode, Anil and Melissa talk with Stephanie Flynt, government program specialist for the National Federation of the Blind. They discuss the continued momentum to eliminate the practice of paying workers with disabilities subminimum wages, including recent reports from the United States Commission on Civil Rights and the National Council on Disability. They also talk about why there is continued resistance to phasing out this practice and what can be done to better educate lawmakers, families of people with disabilities, and the general public.
September 29, 2020 – Use Your Power at the Polls
In this episode, Anil and Melissa talk with Lou Ann Blake, the NFB’s Help America Vote Act project coordinator, about the November 3 election and how blind people can cast our votes. They discuss what the law says about the rights of blind voters, different ways we can vote accessibly, and what the NFB is doing to ensure that more blind voters can cast our ballots privately and independently. They urge everyone to vote and to take our forthcoming voting survey so we can learn how jurisdictions are doing in protecting the rights of blind voters. Watch our video "The Blind Voter Experience" to learn about your rights under federal law and how to exercise them. Also, take a look at our voting resources page.
July 23, 2020 – Learning Together in the Time of Coronavirus (Part 2 of 2)
This episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast is the second of two episodes featuring a conversation about the joys and challenges of having children learning at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Eric Guillory, director of youth services at the Louisiana Center for the Blind and father of two, and Angela Wolf, teacher at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and mother of two, discuss the mental and emotional challenges of children being constantly at home during the pandemic and strategies for coping with them, as well as how to successfully work with school officials and others to make sure children’s educational and social needs are being met.
July 2, 2020 – Learning Together in the Time of Coronavirus (Part 1 of 2)
This episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast is the first of two episodes featuring a conversation about the joys and challenges of having children learning at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Eric Guillory, director of youth services at the Louisiana Center for the Blind and father of two, and Angela Wolf, teacher at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and mother of two, discuss scheduling and enforcing instructional time and creating “teachable moments” unique to learning at home.
May 13, 2020 – Behind the Scenes of Presidential Release Live
In this episode, Anil and Melissa have a conversation with President Riccobono, who takes us behind the scenes of the presidential release live. They discuss the history and purpose of the presidential release, why President Riccobono decided to take it in a new direction during the coronavirus pandemic, the success of the new format in bringing our community together, and how the presidential release and other Federation activities might continue to evolve because of what we are learning in this interesting time.
March 18, 2020 – What It Means to Live the Life You Want
This episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast explores the meaning of the NFB tagline, “Live the life you want.” Melissa and Anil chat with Gary Wunder, the wise and witty editor of our flagship magazine, The Braille Monitor. They talk about the exploration of our tagline in the March issue of the magazine, the myth of the model Federationist, and the need to raise expectations while at the same time respecting each other’s differences and choices. They also invite listeners to contribute to the discussion and to take the Braille Monitor survey, available online or by phone at 667-888-2454.
March 4, 2020 – Audio Description: A Professional Perspective (Part 2 of 2)
This episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast is the second of two episodes exploring the topic of audio description. Chris Danielsen chats with Roy Samuelson, voiceover artist and audio description narrator for hit shows like NCIS and Star Trek, Picard, and major motion pictures like the Oscar-nominated 1917. Roy talks about how he discovered the field of audio description, his evolution from narrator to passionate advocate, how collaboration with the blind people who make up the audience is essential to quality audio description, and how blind people can and should become involved in its creation and production.
February 26, 2020 – Audio Description: The Big Picture (Part 1 of 2)
This episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast is the first of two episodes exploring the topic of audio description. Anil Lewis chats with Everette Bacon, who, in addition to his duties as president of the NFB of Utah and a member of the NFB board of directors, also represents us on the Disability Advisory Committee to the Federal Communications Commission. Everette talks about his advocacy for audio description, explains the laws and regulations that require it on television and in movie theaters, surveys its availability on streaming services like Netflix and in live theater, and more.
February 19, 2020 – Celebrating Black History
This episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast celebrates Black History Month with a contemporary discussion from several leaders in our movement. Chris Danielsen chats with Denise Avant, Ron Brown, and Shawn Callaway, all dynamic African-American affiliate presidents and members of the NFB board of directors, who discuss discrimination as experienced by blind people who are also black.
November 27, 2019 – Meet Libra Robinson
This episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast features a member who saw a need to help blind people in her community and found a way to fulfill it. Chris Danielsen chats with Libra Robinson about starting her own computer training service, especially focused on blind seniors who often can’t get such training because they are not working. Libra’s program won her a 2019 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award.
October 31, 2019 – Meet the Blind Month
This episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast discusses why we celebrate Meet the Blind Month and how it enhances the understanding of both sighted and blind people about the ability of the blind to live the lives we want. Melissa chats with Ellana Crew about a Harry Potter-themed event that drew thousands of participants who had lots of fun, and learned about blind people and blindness skills too.
September 23, 2019 – National Guide Dog Month
This episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast takes on the decision to use a guide dog and whether the problem of discrimination against guide dog handlers has gotten better or not. Host Melissa Riccobono chats with Al Elia who is a guide dog user and lawyer.
August 16, 2019 – Teacher Talk
This episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast continues our back to school series as Chris Danielsen chats with Cayte Mendez, a blind teacher in New York, about how she prepares for the year ahead. Cayte also offers some tips for blind people hoping to become teachers.
August 7, 2019 – Back to School Tips
On this episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast, Anil and Melissa talk about getting ready to go back to school. Melissa describes her solution for managing school supply lists, and gives tips for parents of blind children as well as blind parents that will help ensure your kids have a successful school year.
July 29, 2019 – Traveling Abroad with Your Guide Dog
One of our staff members, Ashley Alvey, joins Director of Public Relations Chris Danielsen to share her experiences and provide tips for traveling abroad as a guide dog user.
July 3, 2019 – Vegas or Bust: Travel Tips for Convention
As we prepare for the 2019 National Convention, Jeff Altman, travel instructor at the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, shares his tips for successfully navigating around Vegas.
June 20, 2019 – Summer Programs: Discovering a New Calling
On this episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast, Melissa Riccobono talks to Marissa Hirschman about how working a summer program changed her entire career path.
June 5, 2019 – Summer Programs: Prepare and Pack to Independence
Melissa Riccobono chats with Arizona-raised Garret Mooney regarding preparing for a summer program even though he didn’t think he needed to attend it. Hear their tips and tricks on packing, and what brought Garret to tears during his experience.
February 26, 2019 – Blind Parents: The Presidential Privilege
Anil Lewis connects with NFB President Mark A. Riccobono on new parenting, knowing who to call for help, and resources and tools for blind parents. Enjoy this conversation from two diaper-changing masters.
February 19, 2019 – Blind Parents: The Turnball Story
Melissa Riccobono talks with the Turnballs from Oregon who are dealing with invasive involvement from the Department of Human Services at the start of their parenting journey. Hear their side of this story.
February 12, 2019 – Blind Parents: The Fight for Rights Isn’t Over
Melissa Riccobono talks with Carla McQuillan, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon, about a current case of blind parents who were discriminated against because hospital staff didn’t know how blind parents could care for a baby. This story wasn’t from ten, fifteen, or fifty years ago; Carla received the heart wrenching call on January 1, 2019.
To listen to previous episodes, please visit the Nation's Blind Podcast archive. If you have any questions about the Nation's Blind Podcast, or if you would like to contribute to future episodes, please email us at [email protected] or call 410-659-9314, extension 2444.