I Lost My Sight, but Rocked on Regardless; as She Covers Her Sixth Glastonbury, DJ Jill Daley Explains How Broadcasting to Visually Impaired Audiences Changed Her World

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), June 30, 2013 | Go to article overview

I Lost My Sight, but Rocked on Regardless; as She Covers Her Sixth Glastonbury, DJ Jill Daley Explains How Broadcasting to Visually Impaired Audiences Changed Her World


Byline: EMMA GRACE SMITH

This weekend, radio presenter Jill Daley will be living it up at the Glastonbury Festival with her friends.

For a DJ, there's nothing unusual in that. She might even come across some of the many stars she's met and interviewed in the course of her career.

But while she'll be listening along with thousands of others, she won't see any of the acts because Jill is blind, having lost her sight 17 years ago to illness.

Jill, 36, from Glasgow, said: "I have been going to Glastonbury for about six years and have met and interviewed people such as Paolo Nutini, Calvin Harris, Lily Allen, Mark Ronson, James Blunt and Kelly Osbourne.

"I met Chris Moyles, too, who was great fun to chat to.

"I also managed to get trapped backstage in an area that had been cordoned off as Beyonce was about to go on.

"My favourite performances have been from Beyonce and Jay Z, Amy Winehouse and Newton Faulkner. It has been amazing – I really love my job."

Jill presents her own magazine show on Insight Radio, Europe's first radio station for blind and partially sighted people.

During The Daley Lunch, she's interviewed everyone from Neds director Peter Mullan to a local theatre group.

She said: "It has completely changed my life. My world when I went blind was plunged into darkness in the space of two weeks.

"As all my sighted friends prepared to leave home, pursue their chosen career paths and travel the world, I was back at home, living with my mum."

Jill was a teenager when she was diagnosed daylight and sunny.

"My eyes had haemorrhaged all through the night and I couldn't see anything." Having always been a lover of cinema, live music, theatre and art, Jill's friends tried to include her in their activities and did their best to describe what was going on.

She said: "I remember going out with my guide dog for the first time to the local shop. It was terrifying.

"In time, though, the more you do it, the more confident you become."

Determined to pursue a career in broadcasting, she studied sound engineering and media at university before she heard about a job at Insight Radio.

Set up in 2006, the station broadcasts from its headquarters in Partick, with satellite studios in Edinburgh, London and Cardiff. It now has more than 119,000 listeners a week.

Many of its producers and presenters, like Jill, have sight problems.

Jill said: "We regularly have guests on the show who discuss magazine stories. They will describe what the story is about.

"We also cover topics like the best way to go about gardening and house work when you lose your sight. We have won awards – it has been incredible. …

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