Being Able by Malcolm John


Digital Story Transcript

In my past, vinyl records preoccupied so much of my life. And then radio seemed a natural progression for me. Now, thirty years on, I’m preoccupied by something very different: I’m preoccupied by equality, and speaking out for the millions of people who live with disabilities and limiting medical conditions.

After witnessing disability hate, myself and a few friends worked together to create a new type of radio platform. A community voice, removing the “dis” from “disability”. It was a simple recipe: time, passion, finance, space… volunteers. You mix it all together and Able Radio is the result.

People frequently use words like “empowerment” and “inclusion” to describe the model, but what does that mean? They’re words, they drive marketing and program content, but the real words are of the people. They’re very personal.

The red studio light goes on and people do quite remarkable things. Dreams come true, spoken words become gems. Now this is about “raise self-esteem”, “reducing isolation”, “moving forward in all aspects of life”. This is all about fighting discrimination, tackling access issues, celebrating achievement and really opening minds to new opportunities, be it employment, sport or leisure or engagement. Slowly break down barriers and reveal hidden talent, free from ridicule or humiliation.

And what about the radio? It’s all there, the music, the features, the competitions, the fun… but really it’s all about the people; real people living real lives, focusing on ability. And as for the vinyl? Well in true radio fashion, “it’s gone but not forgotten”.

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