C. Stanley Potter
Making the written word available to all
Reading a best seller, flipping through the pages of a magazine, scanning the headlines of a favorite newspaper--for people with impaired vision, these experiences are difficult, if not impossible. In 1969, C. Stanley Potter, an amateur radio enthusiast with impaired vision, developed a solution to this problem. With his friend Bob Watson, a former neighbor who was working for NASA as an engineer, Potter developed the Radio Reading Service, the first such service in the world, using the FM subcarriers of Minnesota Public Radio.
Stan Potter and his brother, Bill, were both legally blind. After spending time at the Minnesota School for the Blind in Faribault, Stan and Bill persuaded their parents to move to St. Cloud, where the boys were mainstreamed in public schools. Stan went on to complete bachelor's and master's degrees at public colleges; for his dissertation, he transcribed the first Braille version of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.
Potter was director of the Minnesota State Services for the Blind from 1948 until 1985. It was during this time that he and Watson introduced their radio station. Nominator Cheryl Merrill of St. Paul tells us more: "His idea to establish a radio station for the sight impaired was complete genius. Since its inception, more than 160 stations worldwide have been established. The daily newspaper and current best sellers are two types of written words read on these stations each day. Minnesota Public Radio's Talking Book continues to provide programming twenty-four hours a day."
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