Reading Service (APRIS)

APRIS celebrates 25 years

On Jan. 16, 1989, the Augustana Public Radio Information Service (APRIS) started free readings of local and regional newspapers for the visually and physically impaired.

Today, some 200 volunteers read from the Quad City Times, The Dispatch, Rock Island Argus, Clinton Herald, and Chicago Tribune every week.

APRIS (pronounced AY-priss) is a sub-carrier that can be picked up only by special receivers. The receivers are built to bring in a single channel and they eliminate all of a station's basic frequency except for the sub-carrier.

Sub-carriers often are leased by FM stations for various uses. Writing in the Dispatch-Argus, former station manager Don Wooten said that in its early years, WVIK was approached by businesses which wanted to use its sub-carrier.

"What we decided was that, as a publicly supported radio station, we ought to use our sub-carrier capability for a public purpose," he said. "That's when we started APRIS.

"The problem was how to staff and equip the extra programming. Fortunately, the Quad-Cities community is one of the most generous in the Midwest, especially when it comes to donating personal time and work. We started signing up volunteers late in 1988 and trained them in editing and announcing."

Today APRIS serves 1,300 clients annually and the volunteers give some 4,500 hours.

Although WVIK can get a lot of the content found in the local newspapers through other media outlets, the information that connects us to our community is missing from radio and TV. The most popular content includes obituaries, news of neighbors, grocery ads and local writers like Don Wooten or Bill Wundram who can only be found in the paper.

Tthe need for this service is growing. According to the National Federation for the Blind, roughly 3% of the population is visually impaired. In WVIK's listening area, this could be more than 20,000 people. Anyone with a disability making it difficult to read or hold a book or newspaper is qualified for APRIS. Those living within 45 miles of the Quad Cities can receive the signal. For information, call (309) 794-7560 or download the APRIS Service application.

Volunteering for APRIS is a rewarding experience; call (309) 794-7500. Save the date for APRIS Trivia Night May 16.

The Augustana Public Radio Information Service (APRIS),provides free readings of local and regional newspapers for the visually and physically impaired. Every week, some 200 local volunteers read from the Quad City Times, The Dispatch, Rock Island Argus, Clinton Herald, and Chicago Tribune newspapers.  APRIS is operated free-of-charge as a side-band radio broadcast of WVIK 90.3 FM at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL.


Who can use the service?

Anyone with a physical disability making it difficult to read or hold a book or newspaper is qualified for the free APRIS service. Those living within 45 miles of the Quad City area can receive the signal. Outside the WVIK listening area, you should contact the radio reading service in your area (either through your local public radio station, or local Talking Books provider).

The APRIS (pronounced ay-PRISS) program, a unique service offered by WVIK, with assistance from the Illinois State Library and other local funders, APRIS serves 1300 clients annually.  We boast a volunteer pool of nearly 200, contributing 4500 hours each year to the preparation and reading of the local newspapers over the air to those with a special radio. 

Although we can get a lot of the content found in the local newspapers through other media outlets, critical news information - the information that connects us to our community is missing from radio and television.  Our most popular programming includes the obituaries, news of neighbors, grocery ads and local editorialist - like Don Wooten or Bill Wundrum - can only be found the newspaper.  APRIS offers free access to this content through the readings of the local and regional newspapers, over-the-air.

And the need for this service is ever growing.  According to the National Federation for the Blind, roughly 3% of the population is visually impaired. In our listening area, this could be more than 20,000 individuals.  

 

How can I get a receiver?

If you think a family member, loved one, or friend could benefit from this free service, call us at (309) 794-7560. Or download the Application for APRIS Service (Adobe Acrobat Reader required), print it, fill it in, and mail it to:

APRIS
WVIK Augustana College
639 38th Street
Rock Island, IL 61201

Receivers are loaned free-of-charge to all who qualify. If you no longer require or want the service, simply return the reciever to WVIK. A tag on each radio tells who to call for repairs or replacement.

 

Does APRIS need volunteers?

Yes! If you have some volunteer time to give, we would appreciate your help. Volunteering for APRIS is a rewarding experience that requires very little of your time to provide a useful service for those in need. Call (309) 794-7500. We can schedule a time for training and sign you up either as a substitute or on a regular schedule.

 

How else can I support APRIS?

By making a pledge of financial support to WVIK. Your dollars help make WVIK and APRIS programming possible. Call us at (309) 794-7500 or make your pledge online.