Since 1978, the Alabama Reading Service (ARS) (formerly known as the Alabama Radio Reading Service) has served the heart of Alabama’s blind and print-impaired community from its home at WBHM, a listener-supported service of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Programming features regional newspapers such as The Birmingham News and magazines and periodicals with a wide variety of subject matter.


Listen to ARS online.

Listen to ARS by phone. The toll-free number is: 855-246-9329.
You can choose from our current live broadcast, the most recent edition of The Birmingham News, and this week’s grocery store ads on The Shopping Basket.

Listen to ARS through Alexa (smart sepaker). Just say “Alexa, play Alabama Reading Service.”

Listen through the WBHM app. It’s available for iOS and Android.

Download a schedule

NOTE: Readings of The Birmingham News and The Shopping Basket are suspended until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Download an application to get a free, special radio. In order to qualify, the user must:

• Have visual acuity of 20/200 or less with correcting lenses.
• 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.

For more information call 205-934-6576 or e-mail ARS Director Michael Krall at michael@wbhm.org.


UPDATE: We are not currently accepting volunteer applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volunteers give the Alabama Reading Service (ARS) 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 ARS Director Michael Krall at 205-934-6576 or e-mail michael@wbhm.org for more information on how you can help.


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, the Alabama Radio Service (ARS) serves members of the blind and print-impaired community by providing them a connection to the world. Patients who will benefit from access to ARS are those experiencing the effects of:

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


The Alabama Reading Service (ARS) 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: WBHM, 650 11th Street South, Birmingham AL 35294.

And when you do, thanks!