Ron Ott was determined to be a sportscaster, and neither the Vietnam War nor a successful career at Cincinnati Bell could stand in his way. For the past 25 years, the 1977 M.B.A. graduate has lived his ambition by volunteering as a reader for the Cincinnati Association for the Blind’s radio reading service.
It all began in 1970 when Ott was working for Cincinnati Bell. The company was looking for someone who had broadcast experience to set up a studio for the reading service. Armed with an undergraduate degree in broadcasting, Ott volunteered. He not only set up the studio, but began reading a half-hour of sports each week. Over the years, the reading service grew and so did he. There have been letters and stories like the elderly man in a nursing home who rescheduled his lunch each week around Ott’s time slot. Then there are those who assume the show is syndicated.
Ott finds such things flattering, to be sure, but they aren’t his primary motivation. “I started off because I wanted to be in broadcasting and it was fun,” he says. “But when you begin getting feedback about how much what you’re doing impacts people’s lives—well hey, it makes you feel good that you’re helping them.”