C. Stanley Potter

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Winning Nomination

Mr. Stan Potter changed the culture of sight-impaired Minnesotans. His idea to establish a radio station for the sight impaired was complete genius. The station was the first of its kind in the United States. Since its inception, over 160 stations worldwide have been established. These stations have followed the exact Minnesota model and format to establish stations that serve the physically challenged community. The daily newspaper and current bestsellers are two types of written words read on this station each day. The Radio Talking Book continues to provide programming 24 hours a day.

Stan belived that he could establish programs that would provide meaningful work for the disabled. Tin Cup Day broke his heart and he was determined to proactively cause its demise. Through his work with Minnesota State Services for the Blind he was successful.

This brief synopsis of Mr. Potter's contributions to Minnesota touches on only two of the never-ending gifts he gave to the disabled in Minnesota. Stan's vision and complete sense of selflessness changed the lives of the sight impaired and physically challenged culture.

Mr. Potter, deserves a place of honor in the Minnesota 150 exhibit.
~Cheryl Merrill, St. Paul, MN


Contents

History

(c. 1918-1988)

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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