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Feb 10, 2020

Interview With AMI’s Dave Brown

Dave Brown standing wearing transitional sunglasses smiling at the camera

Fighting Blindness Canada has had a long-standing relationship with Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), with whom we have partnered to produce and provide accessible videos to our community. We are always thrilled to share updates from AMI because we know many of our readers enjoy their programming as much as we do.

Recently, AMI announced the launch of their new show, NOW with Dave Brown. Dave is a long-time broadcaster and journalist who is also blind. The program is now airing weekdays at 9 a.m. ET on AMI-audio and AMI-tv.

Fighting Blindness Canada recently got the opportunity to speak with Dave about his career and his work on NOW. 

What made you get into broadcasting?

I’ve been into broadcasting since I was a kid. When I was 10 years old my parents got me a Sony Walkman. Every night I would go to bed listening to the radio, my parents would come into my room and take away the Walkman from me because I wouldn’t sleep. It wasn’t until I started studying broadcasting that I realized what I love about it so much is the art form. While studying I learned about the methodology, and the work that went into it, and I felt even more connected to it. I saw the companionship that broadcasting created. Every day you are listening and interacting with the same people and you feel as though you know them on a personal level. This is what I try to bring into any project I’m working on. I want to tell a story that connects with my audience no matter where they are, be it at home on the couch or at the gym on a treadmill.

How long have you been involved with AMI?

I started working for AMI as a part-time presenter in 2011. My first assignment was a Paralympic event. I got to talk to amazing athletes about their sport, what makes them tick and how they prepare. I was offered a full-time position at the CBC and that is when AMI asked me to stay with them part-time. While working part-time I also worked full time at other stations like CBC, Entertainment Tonight Canada and Global News Toronto. 2014 is when I made the switch from part-time to full-time at AMI. I was still working as a host and broadcaster, but I also branched out into producing special series and documentaries. While there I was learning more about the lived experience of those living with vision loss and low vision. I also was able to bring my experiences of living with vision loss into my work.

Can you share what it has been like growing up visually impaired?

I was born legally blind, I have albinism and have 10% of my vision left. It is hard to explain what that means exactly, but I don’t see very much. I was never connected to the vision loss community while growing up. I never grew up around people also affected by vision loss. I had an institutional connection to vision loss as opposed to a community connection. I was the only one out of my friends living with a disability. I never looked at myself as having a disability, that is, not until I started university. I never thought about what it was like to identify as legally blind until I started to require help.

What has it been like to work in the vision loss community?

One thing that struck me working with AMI, is meeting people who are living with vision loss or low vision but are fierce with desire and are striving for moments of independence. I’ve noticed there is a difference between those who were born blind, like myself and those who are going blind. Being a broadcaster at AMI has offered me a chance to grasp different lived experiences. My job has connected me to a community that I’ve been disconnected from selfishly. It may be cliché, but it’s true. Vision loss is not singular, everyone has their own experience and this job has given me a lot of different perspectives.

What is your new show, NOW with Dave Brown, about?

I love that question because it’s one I’m still working on! Every show is going to be different since it’s a news show, but every episode will have a connection to the blind and low vision community. NOW is a show focusing on current events, politics, sports, and business. It’s a wide-ranging talk show, and what stands out about it is that you will be hearing from the blind and low vision community at large. The thing that is important about the show is the contributors and production team. We want to tap into people’s lived experiences. We want to focus on how the news will affect the disability, low vision and vision loss community. Broadcasting is supposed to be fun, and a good time. It’s like hanging out with your friends, and that is what I want to bring to the show. I want the show to be your conventional radio show coming from an underrepresented community.

What are you most looking forward to in the show?

I’m so excited to work with my team and the production staff. We’ve built a very diverse team that represents a vast majority of groups. The team is not only diverse, but they are creative people, and I can’t wait for everyone to tap into their artistry. I’ve worked with most of the production team before but usually, it’s been remote, so I’m thrilled for us to all work in the same place at once!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We want NOW to be an engaging experience and not just reflect the view of the production team. We want to hear from our audience and the community at large. We want feedback from people who are going through vision loss or just starting their journey. There are many ways to get in contact with us (listed below) and share your thoughts. We love getting the different perspectives, I want people to share when they disagree with my lived experience, I find it interesting and an opportunity to learn.  

How to give your feedback for NOW with Dave Brown

Voicemail: 1.866.509.4545
Email: feedback@ami.ca
Twitter: @amiaudio or @davebrownradio

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