Voluntary Sector: RNID ventures into radio with audio news releases

The Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) is using audio news releases (ANRs) to target local and national radio stations for the first time.

The charity plans to use the releases as part of its first concerted PR campaign aimed at radio listeners.

It is looking to educate the hearing public about the problems deaf and hard-of- hearing people face in a bid to improve communication.

'We want to make radio listeners think about what hearing loss means to people and to improve their understanding of the communication needs of others,' said RNID senior media relations officer Suzi Darsa.

The releases include interviews with deaf and hard-of-hearing people, who describe the difficulties they face in different sorts of environments and their experiences of coping with deafness.

Discussions with experts on tinnitus, and regional breakdowns of statistics, are also included on the ANRs, which will be sent to 320 radio stations across the country.

The charity has embarked on the campaign to draw attention to Deaf Awareness Week from 2-8 May.

It is using the week to raise awareness about age-related hearing loss and the research, funded by RNID, into its genetic implications.

The move comes as the charity hires former Cancer Research UK head of PR Kate Sidwell as head of media, and former Variety Club press and PR manager Susan Duncan as senor media relations officer for fundraising, reporting to Sidwell.

Sidwell leads a team of five and reports to director of communications Brian Lamb. She replaces Clarinda Cuppage, who left in March. She said she plans to focus on strengthening RNID's presence in the tabloid media by increasing the level of celebrity support.

Duncan replaces Karen Baxter, who has joined the Meningitis Trust.

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