Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Blind employee brings new perspective to WRR Classical 101.1 FM
WRR provides 24-hour classical music broadcast in Dallas / Fort Worth. It also is used as the city of Dallas' public medium.
DALLAS When WRR Municipal Radio posted a job opening last summer, current employees never guessed the impact their new co-worker would have on their lives. The station's confidence in its new employee's ability, despite her blindness; its dedication to hire the right person for the job; and its determination to provide her with the proper equipment has earned WRR an unexpected nod. The Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) will honor the station with its Business of the Year award at 8 a.m. today (August 4) in the Flag Room at Dallas City Hall.
"When Mary Sefzik applied for a position at WRR, we were delighted to find a qualified candidate with a great attitude," says supervisor Kurt Rongey.
Mary had a B.S. in speech communications and minored in music at Texas A&M University at Commerce, and had worked at a radio station during high school. Although she seemed like the perfect candidate, WRR management worried it was not outfitted with the proper equipment to accommodate this disability.
With the help of DARS and the American Foundation for the Blind, WRR was able to get technology for the visually impaired to allow Mary to fulfill her job duties. For the past 14 months, Mary has worked as a radio announcer and is also responsible for writing articles and providing cultural arts updates to the stations award-winning website and monthly print publication Overture Magazine.
"Initial concerns about facilities for her employment were quickly resolved with the help of DARS," adds Rongey. "Her disability ceased to be a concern from virtually the moment she began her work here. She has been an incredibly productive employee with a delightful personality. Her contribution to our radio station is uniformly appreciated by her coworkers."
In addition to technical assistance, DARS assisted with the social aspects of working with someone with a disability. WRR staff was able to learn how technology for the visually impaired had advanced to allow the blind community to live productive lives at home and in the workplace with little effort.
"Mary is proof that focusing on the handicap is shortsighted," says Gregory T. Davis, general manager of WRR. "Hiring people with disabilities can be a successful and rewarding experience if all parties take the time to understand the common goals for all involved. It has been inspiring to watch our staff learn, grow, and become part of a team with a person with a disability. We are very fortunate to have found Mary; she is making WRR a better radio station."
Mary added, "I have always dreamed of working at a radio station and thanks to WRR, my dream has become a reality. My job allows me to combine my creative writing and editing skills, love of music and radio, and my knowledge of assistive technology to make a positive contribution to their team."
Mary can be heard on WRR providing weekend Arts Updates and calendar of events on Saturdays at 8:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.
Source: City of Dallas
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