White Cane Versus Guide Dog

Recently in the studio we had a lively debate between two white cane users and two guide dog users. The talked about which was better to use as a mobility device.

So if you are wondering why some people use a guide dog and others use a white cane they have made similar decisions as these people. To see the reasons blind people make these choices click below to watch the video.

Support a Blind Student

I am looking forward to supporting this campaign to help a blind college student here in Fresno.

He is a Honors student with a 4.0 G.P.A. studying for a general AA degree and hoping to go on for a B.A. in Social Work with a future M.A. in counselling.

Of course all this schooling costs a lot of money and sensibly he doesn’t want to take on too much debt with loans. The other added burden for blind students is that in order to gain access to accessible textbooks they must first buy a print edition of set texts. These are very expensive and totally useless to a blind student and selling the book back to a college bookstore means that a blind student only gets a fraction of the purchase price back.

The bag carries a photograph of a black Labrador Retriever and draped behind him the Stars and Stripes. The title of the product America’s Number 1. The Labrador Retriever being the most popular breed of dog in the United States.

So with sales of this tote bag from Teespring.com   All profits  will go to him to fund course costs for the Spring semester and beyond.

Please help us support this good cause.


Living with Retinitis Pigmentosa ( RP )

Recently Jamie Gibson-Barrows was a guest in our studio. Jamie has worked for several blind and visually impaired groups in Fresno over the past few years.

Jamie’s road to blindness began as a young woman, she noticed her eyesight becoming reduced for many years and visits to her eye doctors failed to produce a diagnosis to the problem.

Then when she was in her thirties she was finally diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa or RP. A disease whicauses “Tunnel vision” the vision in the peripheray grows less and less until blindness takes away all vision completely.


Jamie is now left with only a small amount of central vision in one eye, but she continues to volunteer and is a part time student too.


Here she talks about how her life changed on the day when she visited the eye doctor to receive her diagnosis and she became the first person in her family to be diagnosed with RP.


Having Blind Parents Helped Me

Recently we recorded an interview with Lisa Presley-Thomas, a prominent member of the Fresno Chapter of California Council of the Blind (CCB).

Lisa grew up the sighted child of two blind parents, this experience had quite an affect on her life, possibly even shaping her adult career as a Certified Public Accountant.

aping her

New Series Recording This Week

We have been out of the  studio for a few weeks now. Though we have not been taking things easy.

Behind the scenes at blindside fresno
Behind the scenes at Blindside Fresno

As with all of life in general we had some problems arranging some interviews, people were busy and there were some puppy shortages at local puppy raising groups to name but two of the obstacles to our calendar.

It is not easy being a producer of a magazine program like ‘Blindside Fresno’, but hey what am I complaining about? The program is great fun to make and we are now just about to go into the studio for some more recording sessions.


So What Will Be In The New Series?

We will be trying a new idea for one of our programs. We will have a series of sketches reflecting blind peoples experiences of “Good Samaritans” insisting on ‘helping’ and how we are often treated by servers in restaurants.  We will show the good way to do things and the bad way to do things.  Servers especially should take notes here, bad service impacts YOUR tip. So see if you are doing the right things and  learn how to make your blind customer a great tipper.


Also we will be taking a look at blind parenting from the other side. The point of view of children of blind or visually impaired children. That will be an interesting show, following our interview with two blind moms last season.


We will also take a look at the world of puppy-raising, talking with current puppy raisers in Fresno and the Central Valley. Asking them about the great work they do for organizations like Guide Dogs for the Blind. What is it like to give back a puppy that goes on to make a guide dog? Is it aas heartbreaking as we imagine?  Watch out for that one, we are hoping they will bring a cute puppy or two into the studio.

Plus we will have more news from the Blindside in Fresno.

Blindside Fresno on ‘Members Only’

Every month Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) produces a studio class which takes new members through a whole studio shows production.


The course takes three days, on the first day you learn about the studio and control room as well as planning a show. The second day you work the various areas of a studio and control room and on the third and final day the members of the class create the show, ‘Members Only.’


The show is hosted by one of the staff members at CMAC and guests are  producers of shows aired by CMAC.


I was pleased to be asked to go into the studio at the end of November to appear as a guest producer for program 21 in the series. Exactly one year after I had operated a camera on an earlier edition of ‘Members Only.”

So here is Episode 21 of Members Only aired December 2016.

A Christmas Wish

The Christmas Season is now here and everyone from the ‘Blindside Fresno’ production team wish you all the very best for this season.

We have lots of plans for programs in the new year. We actually start recording our January program tomorrow. A program about the Guide Dog application process.

Then we are also looking forward to March when we will see if our program with Nathan Romo was successful in receiving the award that it was nominated for earlier last week.

So lots to look forward to next year.

For now. Sit back and enjoy this playlist of some of our favorite Christmas Music.

Merry Christmas

‘Members Only’ Appearance

On November 30. I was honored to appear on a regular feature program at Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) call ‘Members Only.’

Just one year ago in November 2015 I worked on the show as a camera operator completing my studio training class. Little did I know back then that just twelve months later I would appear on the show as a guest producer.

The show shares the experience of producers of all kinds of shows with new members and by watching the program regularly you can find inspiration for new ideas and also get to see that those niggly experiences, annoyances and iritations are common to most producers rather than the gods throwing a spanner into your work personally.

I appeared on this episode, Episode 21. I am the second guest on the show. To read about the experience see my blog “In the Studio: Members Only”

By clicking the link below you can see the complete episode of ‘Members Only’


‘Blindside Fresno’ Program 2 An Interview With Nathan Romo, President Fresno Chapter C.C.B.

The second program in the ‘Blindside Fresno’ series was an interview with Nathan Romo, the president of the Fresno Chapter of California Council of the Blind.

Nathan was born premature and placed in an incubator, the common practice at the time was to create an oxygen rich environment to help the babies undeveloped lungs, the side effect was to create problems for blood flow around the retina, leading to retina damage and visual impairment.

Nathan talks about independence, and also his role as president of CCB.



Who is William Elliott?

This is  William Elliott.

William Elliott Producer Blindside Fresno
William Elliott Producer

William Elliott is from England. He came to the United States to live in 2006. He is married and is the Producer of ‘Blindside Fresno.

William worked in retail for many years, working in and then operating a family store before working for a major retailer in the U.K. After coming to the United States in 2006 he returned to school majoring in History with a minor in Political Science. He worked for several years at a public library leaving there as his eyesight continued to fail and it was neccessary to move closer to support services.

In late 2015, he came across Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) a community television facility in Fresno, California. He became a member and volunteer there, taking classes in studio and field production, editing and script writing.

He says, “CMAC is one of the best things that has happened to me. I work with lots of great people. Volunteering on many shows brings lots of ideas.”

William began preparing his ideas for ‘Blindside Fresno’ in the early days of 2016 and recorded his first program, An Interview with Dr. Vivian Kim, Retinologist’ a few months later.

Seeing the vision of a television program aimed at educating the sighted as well as inspiring the blind and low vision community was something very special.

He is now planning a fourth show in the series. The show is broadcast monthly via cable in the Fresno and Clovis areas and is available on YouTube soon  after broadcast by CMAC.

There are several program ideas in the pipeline, enough to take the program through the middle of 2017