When Plantsville resident Joe Hann retired from his career in radio broadcasting after over 40 years, he knew he didn’t want to walk away completely. He found himself with a desire to give back to the community doing something that was familiar to him.
Soon after he retired, he reconnected with the former program director from Lite 100.5 WRCH, Scott Baecker. Baecker was now the operations director at CRIS Radio, the Connecticut Radio Information System, which broadcasts articles published in newspapers and magazines for people who are blind or unable to read due to physical, learning, intellectual or emotional disabilities including those with autism, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy or medical treatments or conditions that prevent a person from reading.
“He volunteered for CRIS Radio because he always had a love for radio,” said Ceil Hann, Joe Hann’s wife, who spoke on his behalf. “He just wanted to give back to the community in some way.”
CRIS Radio volunteers provide narration of a variety of articles for those who cannot read themselves. They also provide narration for audio versions of classroom materials, children’s magazines, museum exhibits, and Spanish-language newspapers and magazines.
“Everything is recorded and saved, and then broadcasted through special radios to people who can hear, but cannot read,” said Ceil.
Joe Hann found his start in radio at a little station in upstate New York, Ceil explained. After that, he worked in St. Croix, Virgin Islands for over nine years. He then spent 25 years broadcasting with Lite 100.5 WRCH as a music director and announcer. He was there when the station made the switch from “the beautiful music” station to “adult contemporary,” which is still plays today.
“When he retired, he wanted to keep his hands in radio,” said Ceil. “He loved volunteering with CRIS Radio. He did it every week, and would do extra time if we were going away just to make sure they had enough articles.”
Joe Hann was recently honored for his dedication and outstanding service to CRIS Radio at a reception held at the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain. More than 200 volunteers attended the reception.
Hann has given five years of volunteering once a week.
CRIS Radio is Connecticut’s only radio reading service and has been in operation for nearly 40 years. It broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from regional satellite studios in Danbury, Norwalk, Norwich, Trumbull, West Haven and its broadcast center in Windsor.
Programs powered by CRIS Radio include: CRIS Radio; CRIS Streaming (hospitals and other health care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities); CRIS On Demand; CRISKids, CRISAccess (museums), and CRIS En Español.
To learn more about CRIS Radio, visit www.crisradio.org.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.