Alabama Radio Reading Service


Download an application for a radio.

Download a large-print programming schedule.

LISTEN to the Alabama Radio Reading Service online: HERE

The Alabama Radio Reading Service is also available via telephone 24/7 by calling: (605) 472-9329 (Note: long distance charges may apply).


Since 1978, the Alabama Radio Reading Service (ARRS) has served North Central Alabama’s blind and print-impaired community from its home at Public Radio WBHM 90.3FM/WSGN 91.5 FM, a listener-supported service of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Support also comes from a grant from The Eyesight Foundation of Alabama, a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to serve as a catalyst to improve eyesight through education, research and access to care.

If you are unable to see or hold printed material, the Alabama Radio Reading Service (ARRS) is your resource for 24/7/365 independent access to in-depth coverage of regional, national and international news, consumer information, books, magazines, and entertainment. The programs are broadcast through the WBHM 90.3 FM subcarrier to specially-tuned radios that ARRS provided to qualifying listeners.

In order to qualify, the user must:

  • Have visual acuity of 20/200 or less with correcting lenses.
  • Be unable to read standard printed material with correction regardless of optical measurement.
  • Be unable to read or use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations.
  • Or, have a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction.

Visual impairment or physical limitation must be certified by a competent authority, e.g., doctor, optometrist, therapist, counselor, etc.

Receivers are loaned to users and must be returned for reassignment when no longer needed. Programming features regional newspapers such as The Birmingham News, regional and national magazines, and books on a wide variety of subject matters.

For more information call 205-934-6576 or e-mail ARRS Director Michael Krall at [email protected].


For persons who are blind or print-impaired, accessing printed materials such as books, newspapers, and magazines can be an enormous hurdle. Through referrals from health care professionals such as optometrists/ophthalmologists, doctors, social workers, and vocational rehabilitation specialists services, ARRS serves members of the blind and print-impaired community by providing them a connection to the world. Patients who will benefit from access to ARRS are those experiencing the effects of:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Stroke
  • Other similar impairment



Volunteers give ARRS its voice. If you have a good speaking voice and/or a background in broadcasting, are interested in your community and current events, and would like to volunteer your time, join us in providing our listeners with the quality service they deserve. If you are unable to be a reader, we very much appreciate volunteers who lend their time and expertise in other roles. Join our team of dedicated volunteers who make a difference every day in a unique, rewarding, and fun way!

Please contact ARRS Director Michael Krall at 205-934-6576 or e-mail [email protected] for more information on how you can help.


The ARRS is part of Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM, a listener-supported service of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Contributions are vital to the continued success and growth of this service. Your one-time or ongoing tax-deductible gift provides programming (news, information, entertainment, and cultural opportunities) and special radios to community members who are blind and print-impaired. Give the gift of independence today online or by mailing your donation to ARRS, 650 11th Street South, Birmingham AL 35294. And when you do, thanks!



Q: How do you qualify to be a listener of The Alabama Radio Reading Service (ARRS)?
A: If you or someone you know is visually-impaired or unable to hold a newspaper or book, you qualify. Visual impairment or physical limitation must be certified by a competent authority, e.g., doctor, optometrist, therapist, counselor, etc.

Q: What programming does ARRS offer?
A: Newspapers, magazines and information are provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also air programs about health and cooking as well as the weekly grocery specials. A complete program guide is available in large print at HERE.

Q: Will any radio pick up the service?
A: No.This is a special closed circuit broadcast and listeners must have a specially-equipped radio provided by the ARRS.

Q: Is there a cost for the service?
A: While the service is free to individuals who are visually-impaired or print-disabled, we rely on donations to cover the cost of the receivers and help with operating costs.

Q: What do I do with my radio when I don’t need it anymore?
A: If you are not using your radio, please return it to ARRS so that it can be re-issued to someone else.

Q: What if I am outside the ARRS listening area?
A: In addition to listening to the ARRS online HERE, you can also call (605) 472-9329 to hear the ARRS service via telephone, 24/7. (Note: long distance charges will apply)

Other reading services in Alabama can be found at:

WLRH 89.3 FM Huntsville, 256-895-9574

Troy University Public Radio, 334-241-9574, broadcasting through:
WTSU 89.9 Montgomery/Troy
WRWA 88.7 FM Dothan
WTJB 91.7 FM Phenix City, and Columbus, Ga.