Pittsburgh-based Radio Information Service (RIS) – a non-profit reading service to those with visual imparements – has run out of money and will be off the air next Friday. Since 1976, the service has been available through WDUQ’s Sub-carrier frequency over special receivers one could rent from the non-profit.
“The money is gone – more than gone,” WDUQ general manager Scott Hanley told the Tribune-Review. WDUQ took over the operation of RIS in 2005. RIS’s 200 volunteers were notified by email on Monday that the station would be shutting down while the 1000 – 2000 listeners learned on Sunday.
Reading services like RIS all across the country have been struggling since losing government funding over the last decade. RIS’s budget of $300,000 earlier in the decade was cut to nearly $200,000 last year and the funding from foundations had dried up due to the economy problems.
Despite these plans, WDUQ and the RIS Board of Directors are hoping to keep the service running as best as possible through the help of volunteers.