30 Years of Broadcasting

Progress bar in the shape of an audio wave. Text says "$1747 raised. $30,000 goal."

1991-2021

30 Years of Broadcasting.

For us, it is a chance to reflect on what AINC means, where we were, and where we are going. Our community makes a difference every day. Thank you for our first 30 years, and here’s to our next.

Join us by participating in Colorado Gives Day on December 7th!

This year, AINC is celebrating 30 years of broadcasts in conjunction with Colorado Gives Day! We’re building a fundraising event to keep that momentum going. Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. Donations are accepted through ColoradoGives.org.

Help us reach our $30,000 goal!

One thousand dollars for every year we have served Colorado’s blind, visually impaired, and print disabled residents. Help us reach our goal by scheduling a donation now!

Memories of the last 30 years…

Shirley Proppe:

Shirley sitting with her son in her lap30 years ago I was working at a large corporation with great money and great benefits.  I hated it.  It was a heartless and uninspiring job.  I was also extremely busy with home and family: raising my then 7 year old son and everything else that goes with family.  Fast forward to today and my son is grown and my life is completely different.  I am so thankful for my new joyful and more purposeful life.  I attribute a great deal of my joy to working at AIN.  I am so happy to work for such a meaningful and worthwhile organization.

Jared from Trinware:

When I first walked into AINC to work on their network, I had no idea of what to expect. Diving in head-first, I was awe-struck at the complexity and functionality Curtis Willoughby created. I tallied all the lines in all the scripts & cron jobs that he wrote over the years to create an automated broadcast network and was speechless at the 1.2 million lines total. I can barely imagine doing this being sighted. Curtis did it blind. This sheer genius remains an inspiration to me daily. It makes me proud to be part of something so special!

Katy Todd:

photo of katy in a grey hoodie, smiling.AIN was my first real foray into the job world. Everyone was very nice. Always my favorite soda in the fridge. People would come back to my warm control room and say hi. Doggies are well loved there and I always enjoyed seeing them. I was taught the system from a few wonderful people and when I left, my replacement was a joy to teach!! Grocery add Carl always made me hungry! They always remembered special occasions. KT’s barbeque was my favorite! Thank you guys!

Matt Kissane:

An AINC studio with a window looking into the control room. 2 mics sit on the desk.2019 was a busy time in our suite, with our friends from Trinware transforming our entire technological infrastructure. Jared and Bill were a comforting presence: patient, social, gracious, and generous with their knowledge. They each had a welcoming, sometimes self-effacing, sense of humor. One day Bill came into my office, searching for something. They were replacing our wi-fi routers and one was missing. This search went on all day. We all got involved, climbing ladders and looking above the false ceiling panels to no avail. Near the end of the day, Bill asked me to follow him to a studio. Plain as day, a wi-fi router stood on a studio counter, with one of its two antennae pointing upward, as if thrusting its only finger in the air. Somebody had covered it with a clipboard.

Kat Bradbury:

Headshot of Kat in 1991, smiling.Where was I 30 years ago? 1991 I was in Polarity Therapy training, working a full time gig, working a part time gig as a clinical specialist, and teaching step aerobics. It was also when first became aware of the Radio Reading Service of the Rockies (original name), as a credit union was in the same building, and I first saw the sign for RRSR. It took me 5 years for my life to slow down enough to where I was ready to investigate what RRSR was all about.

Matt Kissane:

Ryan sitting in the old control room with his hands on the audio board, smilling and looking back at the camera.I had never needed to worry about the TP inventory in the men’s room, always well-supplied for our volunteer readers and staff, until we ran out. While the order was in transit, I used paper towels for a few days. Then our audio engineer, Katy, invited a guest: our old friend, her predecessor, Ryan. During his visit, he emerged from the men’s room and announced we were out of TP. I said I had to use the rough stuff all week. Katy immediately said, “Why don’t you take some from the women’s room? There’s a bunch in there.”
Now I know.

Alex Flynn:

Alex sitting infront of a brick wall with a short pink haircut and a denim jacket

6 years ago I walked into AINC studios to do my volunteer audition. I was so nervous – I thought I totally botched it! Kat brought me into her office and began playing my audio back to me. Of course, I was cringing listening to my own voice (who likes hearing their own voice anyway?)… But after some words of wisdom, Kat put me on Gilpin County News. I started volunteering at AINC to challenge myself to be confident in my voice. I  then made it my goal to get a job at AINC.  I’m celebrating my 4 years of employment at AINC. It has been a wild, but amazing, ride!

Ryan Osentowski:

Matt and Ryan sitting and laughingI never would have become a pet owner if not for my time at AINC. Bethany Gaines rehomed her cat with me and I renamed her Mags. I have many fond memories of sitting in the kitchen over coffee getting good advice on how to be a better cat daddy from my pals Matt and Kim Ann. Adopting Mags was one of the best things I ever did and I adored her until she passed away in 2019. I also gained a greater appreciation of Windows over Linux, but don’t tell Curtis Willoughby.

Kim Wardlow:

Kim with short blonde hair on a grassy field holding a very fluffy dog, smiling

I started volunteering in 1999 reading children’s programming. For the first few months, I recorded on reel-to-reel tape. Recorded programs were played overnight using a VCR. I lived and worked in Denver so drove to Boulder once a week to record. By September the recording studios were computerized and I was working in Boulder so I could record over my lunch hour. I had no idea then that I would be joining the AINC staff two years later.

Penn Street:

Penn street hugging her husband from behind on a beach on their wedding day.

30 years ago my two stepdaughters were little girls, I was teaching full-contact self-defense class, and I could not imagine what my life could possibly look like in 30 years. If I could travel through time I would tell my younger self to take more time to enjoy the small things because they would become cherished memories. I was so busy preparing for my future I don’t think I stopped often to enjoy the present. I think today I will take a few moments to enjoy the me I worked so hard to become.

Kat Bradbury:

Kat with long black hair sitting in a chair, smiling.

1995:  26 years ago, I came into the AINC studios in Boulder located at 5290 Arapaho Ave. Regina Heger was in charge of auditioning and assigning volunteers. Auditions were recorded on a reel-to-reel tape recorder and checked by Regina Heger. I was assigned at that time to the 90 minute ‘live’ Thursday morning broadcast reading of the Rocky Mountain News with Hyman (Hy) Solomon. There are no pause buttons in “live” broadcast so we always had two readers. I read this weekly for 5 years until I came on board as a staff member in Feb of 2000.

Share your memory!

Help us build our memory collection! Share your memory by filling out the form below. Your memory can be anything that was significant to you over the last 30 years. For example:

  • Where were you 30 years ago?
  • What was your first day as a volunteer/listener like?
  • Share a moment where AINC changed your life.
  • What has changed the most since you first got involved with AINC?

*Note that your memory and full name will be made public on this website and social media. If you wish to remain anonymous, leave name field blank.

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Scroll back through time…

First… set the mood and teleport to the 90s.

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1990

Establishment of the Radio Reading Service of the Rockies (RRSR)

David Dawson knew there was a need for greater access to materials for blind, visually impaired, and print disabled Coloradans. Dawson, who is blind, and a small group of volunteers began recording newspapers, magazines and other materials on reel-to-reel tapes in a tiny studio.

1991

New Bill leads to First Broadcast

The HB 1174 Bill was signed on March 11 in Boulder and Adams County, allowing for the State Library to contract with RRSR. This law made it easier for other counties to fund and contract with RRSR in the near future.

Programming included Rocky Mountain News and Grocery Ads

1992

First LIVE Broadcast

The first live-streamed program was aired on channel 6-KRMA. At this point, broadcasts were running 20 hours every day of the week. Programming expanded to include the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and National Geographic.

1995

Colorado Springs Studio Opens

Due to an increasing demand of programming serving Colorado Springs, RRSR opened up a small studio at the KRMA-TV headquarters.  Recordings were taped and had to be mailed to the Boulder location, so there was a 2-3 day delay.

1996

Switch to Analog allows Colorado Springs Services to Expand

The switch from tape to analog allowed the Colorado Springs channel to go 24/7 – with no delay.  RRSR was able to include more Colorado Springs newspapers in the programming.

2003

Upgrade to Larger Studio Space

RRSR moves to a larger building at 2200 Central Avenue in Boulder to accommodate the expanding services, and over 100 volunteers.

2007

Name Change

➔ The Audio Information Network of Colorado

2009

Switch to Digital

Rocky Mountain PBS made a major switch from analog to digital. That’s when AINC began leasing out digital receivers to listeners across the state.

2013

AINC Moves

AINC moves to their current location at 1700 55th Street, in Boulder, CO.

2015

Spanish Programming Launches

Within two years there is a full 24/7 Spanish broadcast and over 40 Spanish podcasts.

AINC Logo

2018

Kim Ann Wardlow becomes the new Executive Director

She served as Marketing Director for AINC for 17 years before taking over as Executive Director when David retired. Jumping into action to further AINC’s mission, she spearheaded initiatives to modernize AINC.  One initiative was adding smart speakers to our listening options. Expanding listener services called for a new, modern logo.

2019

Technology Overhaul

AINC began working with Trinware to upgrade technology, equipment, and complex broadcast systems.

2020 – now

Perseverance through a Pandemic

The historic COVID-19 pandemic presented many unexpected challenges, but AINC’s quick action allowed the mission to continue for the benefit of the vulnerable listeners during this critical time. All 100+ volunteers transitioned to a remote-reading protocol in a matter of weeks. AINC staff contacted every registered listener to offer support and resources. In addition, the AINC Amazon Alexa Skill was made public, allowing listeners to access their local news and COVID-19 updates by voice, safe at home.

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