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Golden Voices

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - An Internet radio station is giving a voice to people who haven't always been given a chance.

"It's Wednesday and we welcome all of you to GSR Sports Talk, a very special Wednesday edition of GSR Sports Talk," said Golden String Radio DJ Russell "Radar" Pavlov.

It's hard to find another place where adults love their positions, as much as the DJs in this Youngstown studio on Pearl Street.

DJ Scott Mincher said "First off I love sports. I always wanted to get into some type of radio or TV if it was possible because I've always loved sports.  Knowing I've never been able to play it, I always wanted to be able to I thought it would be really cool to have my own show."

Scott has cerebral palsy and Russell is autistic. The nonprofit Golden String gave them a chance to broadcast their talents.

Most of the people who run this Internet radio station are adults with disabilities.

Scott works in the office when he isn't on the air for his sports show, and news and weather updates. During Friday nights in the fall, Scott, Russell and Viking Jim host a high school football call-in show.

The DJs have taken cues from some of the greats.

"Two broadcasters. Joe Tait who used to be the voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers on the radio and Mike Lang who still does his 'he shoots and scores' for the Pittsburgh Penguins," Russell said.

This is part of ISLE, the Iron and String Life Enhancement umbrella of organizations, which serves people with special needs.

Joe Gallagher, an adult with down syndrome, was the inspiration behind Golden String Radio.

He was the first residential client with ISLE and he came with his 50 vinyl records which are still playing today. His legacy now lives on.

"I love music and I've always dreamed of being a DJ cause I started listening to the radio since I was seven and I just enjoy all the DJs and they inspire me," said DJ Jenna Sefcik.

Country music DJ Jenna Sefcik doesn't let being blind stop her from reading her lineup. She types it in Braille the night before.

"Up next is Carrie Underwood 'Before He Cheats' right here on Golden String Radio."

Manning the switchboard has come so naturally to DJ Mark Castro that he is now the main staff member in the studio.

"When I come to work here like it actually doesn't feel like a job at all. It just feels like I'm coming to work to play music and actually get paid to have fun basically," he said.

Mark, who is mildly developmentally disabled, has the gift of song in his veins.

He plays keyboard by ear and is a member of the local funk band "Geo C and Tha Storm."

Each week he co-hosts the Reeling in the Years Show with Mustang Sally.  They play music and give trivia from a specific year.

Hitting all the right notes to give a voice to a universal language for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.

Golden String Radio broadcasts on the Internet seven days a week.

Some DJs are paid employees but the majority are volunteers who work at the sister organization and vocational center, the Purple Cat, along with community members.

The nonprofit that operates the radio station, Golden String, has a more social mission for people with disabilities.

The organization runs on a combination of funding from the state, donations, fundraisers and grants.

To tune in from your computer, check out the schedule and find out more about all of the DJs log on to the Golden String Radio Web Site.

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