When I read a story to listeners over the air, I get to discover something new alongside them — experiencing amusement, dismay, or a range of other emotions we typically have when sharing with friends.
There would be no reason for Gatewave to exist if there is no audience for its services. Sadly this is not the case.
According to a study sponsored by the National Eye Institute and reported in the Archives of Ophthalmology (April 2004), blindness or low vision affects 3.3 million Americans age 40 and over, or one in 28 individuals. While dealing with vision loss is difficult emotionally, behaviorally, socially and functionally, not being able to access current in depth news and information puts people with visual impairments at a definite disadvantage - it is more difficult to be as knowledgeable about the world or as empowered to make informed decisions as people who do not have a visual impairment. Not being able to read newspapers and magazines that one is accustomed to can be frustrating and depressing, presenting an obstacle as insurmountable as any physical barrier.
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) research indicates that there are 1.3 million people in the United States that are legally blind. It estimates that approximately an additional 75,000 people a year will become visually impaired and that there are 10 million people in the U.S. who are either blind or visually impaired. In this number 5.5 million are seniors. NFB believes that in the next 30 years, increasing numbers of aging baby boomers will become either blind or visually impaired, doubling the number of persons in this category. Recent media reports on increased obesity rates in America and resulting diabetes rates may result in more Americans suffering visual impairment.
Visually impaired individuals are not the only potential audience for Gatewave's programming. Candidates also include persons suffering from any disability that leaves them unable to read and handle printed matter. These can include individuals with physical motor impairment or learning disabilities such as dyslexia