The Blind Person’s Podcast Making Kit Light Bulb Moment

Hi, my name is Jeff Daniels, it’s February 2020 and I am at Arnolfini, in Bristol with fellow core group members of the ‘City of Threads’ project.

We are here to listen to expert Miranda Rae deliver a presentation about podcast production, the A to Z of ‘How To’.

The presentation is going really well, and my mind is shifting gear, maybe going into overdrive… I need to explain a little here.

I have been Severely Sight Impaired (SSI) for many years, I have also been an Assistive Technology Trainer.  Are you starting to think where this is going? Yes…  Accessibility? “The Light Bulb Moment”.  “Can I go from A to Z in the podcasting world with text to speech output software only?

Foot and mouth, or should I say foot in mouth.  Yeah… I was having a post presentation conversation with Rachel Aspinwall (PECo Theatre’s artistic director) about my light bulb moment… then you know when you get that sudden quiet and you realise the person you’re speaking with is also having a light bulb moment?

And that was when the Blind Persons Podcasting Kit became a reality…teamwork, calling Chris Turner and Miranda Rae.

I’ve known Chris for many years, he is an Assistive Technology Trainer, he is a musician, most importantly he is a music technology geek who is Severely Sight Impaired, he’s also in the core devising group on City of Threads. Miranda is a professional and specialist when it comes to podcasting, she is a radio presenter and DJ… Then there is me, the one that came up with idea in the first place, I find the products try them out and troubleshoot issues.

And the Blind Persons Podcasting Kit goes overdrive… the concept in an analogy is getting on the motorway and going from A to Z seamlessly using VoiceOver..So, buckle up, reach for your iPhone, plug in your stereo microphone, open the App and double tap the record button….

Miranda, Chris and I are going to take you on a journey.

And the same story from the perspective of Miranda …

‘I’m really excited to be collaborating on a “worlds first ever” project thanks to the amazing City of Threads podcast project & PECo Theatre.

At the start of the year I was asked to come and teach a podcasting workshop to the core co-creative group of City of Threads and it was during this workshop  that one of the group, Jeff, had one of those light bulb moments, an epiphany that has led to collaborating on one of the most exciting projects of my life!

As someone who is 50% blind and had bouts of complete blindness throughout my life this was an opportunity I couldn’t let slide.

Thanks to Jeff’s light bulb moment, myself, Chris and Jeff are working on what we believe to be the worlds first ever podcasting tool kit for VIP’s!

We realised during the workshop that there were some immediate problems, how do you edit without reading & seeing the waveforms? How can you record and how can you distribute the podcasts let alone finding the equipment & software that was user friendly & accessible.

Several months on and we have almost finished our research.

With the expert help of Chris & Jeff they have found a software that can be used with a screen reader & a magnifier and allows VIP’s to record and edit. Next we needed a podcast hosting site that will distribute the podcast. Thanks to a Facebook podcast support group where I posted our needs I was swiftly contacted by one of the worlds biggest and  leading hosting sites, Podbean.

Not only did they assure me that their site is accessible for VIP’s they vowed to work with our feedback and do anything in their power to make sure it really was.

With an industry leader supporting us and the expert help of Chris & Jeff we are almost at the point of being able to deliver the worlds first Podcast toolkit for VIP’s which we will deliver,  in the form of a podcast!’