The author is a writer for MindsEye, which is associated with IAAIS. IAAIS commentaries are featured regularly at www.radioworld.com.
MindsEye Radio Executive Director Marjorie Moore was recently elected president of the International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS). MindsEye Radio of Belleville, Ill., serves people throughout the St. Louis region with vision loss by turning print material such as newspapers, magazines, books, and ads into audio for broadcast.
Equipped with her degree in broadcast and electronic communications from Marquette University, Moore was hired at MindsEye shortly after graduation. She helped the station move to 24/7 digital broadcasts, improved program offerings, and enhanced audio quality. Moore also started the Ultimate Beepball Tournament, a competitive blindfolded baseball event bringing people of various abilities together. Through her job, Moore has witnessed the impact of audio information services. She says, “I got really excited about it because I could see what a difference it could make for somebody.”
After only four years with MindsEye, Moore was promoted to executive director where she has served for nine years. As her career advanced and MindsEye expanded its reach, Moore continued to tell the story of the audio information service’s humble beginnings and dedication to service.
Fr. Boniface Wittenbrink, OMI, a priest and member of the Catholic order the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, founded MindsEye in 1973. He confessed, “I don’t know anything about blind people except they can’t see; and I sure don’t know anything about radio except how to turn one on and change the batteries. But if you think I can help, I’ll do it.” Moore says volunteers continue to hold this spirit.
At the time, Fr. Boni worked with only 10 volunteers and a handful of listeners. More than four decades later, MindsEye has more than 200 volunteers and reaches about 13,000 listeners in the greater St. Louis area. MindsEye’s impact is significant. “We know that our listeners appreciate having human voices reading them the paper,” Moore says. “Through the power of radio, we’re able to be in 13,000 homes at the same time.”
The impact of audio information services goes even further than MindsEye’s reach. The IAAIS, a volunteer-driven organization of about 80 services and developing services that deliver information to the blind and visually impaired, serves approximately two million people nationwide.
Moore’s involvement with the IAAIS began in the early 2000s. She’s served in several capacities, including the communications and nominations committees. She advanced from committee work to board work, joining as treasurer and working her way through the ranks to vice president and finally president.
Moore quickly realized she loved being involved in the organization. “The great thing about the IAAIS is knowing there’s someone in Arizona, or Iowa, or North Carolina, or Toronto who has been there. They’ve had the same problem with SCA quality, fundraising, program evaluation, or listener applications that you are having now,” she says. Because of her work with MindsEye, Moore is prepared to oversee the growth of audio information services through her work with the IAAIS. Moore says, “It’s more important now than ever for all the audio information services to lean in and grow together.”
Moore’s vision is to help others recognize the importance of audio information services. Many people are unfamiliar with vision loss and how audio information services can help people access the news and stay involved in their cities and neighborhoods. “Audio information services can be a real asset to your community,” Moore says. “They help build a well-informed public. Over the next few years, the IAAIS will start a nationally-based service to help serve those areas unable to have an audio information service in their community. We’ll be looking for radio partners to do that.”
Moore is enthusiastic to continue serving the mission of audio information services through her presidency. “[I am] really honored to take on this role,” she says, “and keep pushing audio information services forward so we can keep helping people.”