MindsEye Takes on Springfield, Illinois Radio Information Service Station
The Belleville-based nonprofit has run a similar broadcast in Metro St. Louis since 1973
St. Louis, MO, October 1st, 2021— On October 18th, MindsEye will take up the Springfield Radio Information Service (RIS) broadcast, which provides current print information to area citizens who are blind, low vision, or print-impaired. The service is free for qualified individuals and includes programming that promotes independence, including hyper-local news and grocery store ads.
Springfield RIS is one of ten member stations that comprise the Illinois Radio Information Service (IRIS) network, of which MindsEye is a member. Formerly operated by WUIS 91.9 NPR Illinois, the service has been off-the-air since July 1st. MindsEye takes control at the request of, and with grant funding from, the Illinois State Library. Listeners can receive the new broadcast via sideband receiver radio, streaming on the MindsEye website, Amazon Alexa skill, or the forthcoming MindsEye iOS app. MindsEye broadcast coverage will be extended to include 17 new counties: Adams, Brown, Cass, Christian, DeWitt, Logan, Macon, Mason, Menard, Morgan, Moultrie, Piatt, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, and Shelby.
As a Springfield native, MindsEye Board Member Liz Hill is thrilled to see the organization expand into her home region. Liz was introduced to MindsEye through her extensive work in St. Louis live entertainment and sports. She soon began volunteering, recording two sports segments for broadcast each week. In Hill’s words, “from a small child, I was surrounded by a diverse and inclusive community in Springfield which prided itself on helping their fellow neighbors. I know MindsEye will be a great addition to the region for years to come.”
Springfield-based volunteers are urgently needed to fill this sudden increase in programming. Because the broadcast will originate in MindsEye’s Belleville studio, Springfield volunteers can record and submit programs remotely. Existing and new Metro St. Louis-based volunteers are also welcome to contribute. Programs requiring readers include the Springfield Frontpage News, Springfield Obituaries/Editorials/Sports, Springfield Grocery Store Ads, Jacksonville/Decatur local news, and the Chicago Tribune. To volunteer, please visit https://mindseyeradio.org/get-involved/volunteer/broadcasting-volunteers/.
MindsEye has hopes to eventually expand its other programs into the Springfield area, including recreational tournaments featuring the adaptive sport of BeepBall and Audio Description in cultural venues. According to MindsEye President and CEO Jason Frazier, “MindsEye’s broadcast program has been a staple in our community since 1973. However, the more recent addition of BeepBall and Audio Description programs has deepened the ability of individuals who are blind or low vision to fully experience our region’s rich arts, culture, and athletic offerings. We’d love to provide those same opportunities to the Springfield community.”
MindsEye welcomes additional support for this endeavor from Springfield-area companies and organizations. Current regional sponsors include Ameren Illinois and Permobil Seating and Positioning. MindsEye thanks WUIS NPR Illinois for continuing to host the short-wave radio frequency for the Springfield broadcast.
MindsEye strives to build a more inclusive community by translating vision into audio for individuals who are blind or visually impaired through four primary programs. The Broadcast Information Program provides listeners access to long-form journalism and local news and materials like grocery store ads, which allow people to stay informed and maintain independence. The Audio Description Program enables every person who attends a theatre production or museum exhibit the chance to enjoy a rewarding experience. The Beepball Program raises awareness and support for athletes who are blind or visually impaired. The Arts and Culture Accessibility Cooperative provides a forum for local cultural institutions to learn about and discuss accessibility. For more information, visit MindsEyeRadio.org. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @mindseyeradio. MindsEye is a proud United Way of Greater St. Louis Safety Net member agency.
MindsEye Development and Communications Coordinator