Opens the World
*Update: You can listen to DRIS online at anytime! Click here to learn more.*
Mission & Purpose
The Detroit Radio Information Service (DRIS) is southeast Michigan's Radio Reading/Audio Information Service for people with disabilities. It is a special audience service of WDET-FM and Wayne State University. DRIS embraces and enhances the robust community engagement mission to expand knowledge, educate, inform and culturally enlighten its listeners.
"You have a wonderful program to help the print-impaired, who are very much interested in staying alive intellectually"..."What a joy to have your service!"
Since 1978 DRIS has filled an information void in the blind and print-impaired population by offering a simple, cost-effective method of accessing printed and visual news and information published in hundreds of daily, weekly and monthly periodicals. Being uninformed is a serious handicap that hinders one's ability to make common everyday decisions. DRIS staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing timely printed matter and consumer information to the blind, physically disabled, and cognitively disabled residents of southeastern Michigan and to providing quality programs designed to help those individuals lead enriched, productive and independent lives.
DRIS is the only service of its kind in the region providing free reading and audio information programming for one of the community's most under-served population groups. The program line up helps listeners by providing equal access to information, reducing isolation and providing a vital social connection.
How Does it Work?
Like many Radio Reading Services, DRIS broadcasts its programming over a private, closed-circuit radio signal (WDET-FM's 67 kHz sub-channel). Specially built radio receivers are loaned free of charge to qualified applicants. This is particularly important to elderly and/or homebound individuals on low fixed incomes. DRIS is also used in residential retirement facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, low vision clinics, schools and senior centers. DRIS is further distributed through community cable partnerships and streamed over the Internet in several formats. On-line archiving offers convenient on-demand access to many popular programs. More than 100,000 homes and institutional care partners have access to DRIS programming.
Any person, who is unable to see, hold or comprehend conventional printed matter because of a disability, including a learning disability, may apply to use DRIS. An applicant must be 1) registered with a Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped or 2) certified by a qualified healthcare provider such as doctor, social worker or rehabilitation counselor. Institutions that serve qualified listeners are also eligible to apply. Qualifying conditions include blindness, vision impairment, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, severe arthritis, amputation, spinal cord injury, stroke and other physical conditions or dyslexia and other cognitive conditions.
Refer to Listener Application
DRIS broadcasts 8,760 hours of continuous audio information programming a year, helping to offset the impact of vision loss and the inability to hold or comprehend print. DRIS employs more than 130 volunteer readers and offers the verbatim readings of more than 100 local and national newspapers and magazines a week. Special interest materials include this week's grocery and department store ads, senior citizen issues, hobbies, and literature. Rehabilitation programs focus on topics like adjustment, employment, education and legislation. DRIS also partners with other community agencies and organizations to produce specialized programs. View the complete program line up and sample DRIS programming using the "Listen Live" link on the DRIS Program Schedule.
To hear an audio version now, use these audio links:
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
- Personal Reader Referral Service: DRIS matches volunteers with qualified clients to provide one-to-one readings on an individual basis.
- Audio Descriptions: DRIS volunteers provide audio descriptions of nonverbal elements during select theatre performances and community events.
- Sponsored Programming: DRIS collaborates with other organizations to develop, produce and broadcast programming to a targeted audience.
- Special Programs: DRIS may tape and air community forums or partner with area organizations and government agencies to provide information that allows listeners to participate in public comment cycles for various public projects.
- Distribution: Some special programs or specialized material may be recorded and dubbed to CD, MP3, FTP or posted to DRIS' audio archive library for broader distribution.
You Can Help!
- Volunteers are always needed to read, work in the studio, help with special events, work in the office and more. It's a very rewarding opportunity!
- Invite a DRIS representative to speak at your social or professional organization.
- Contact your doctor, clergy and friends to tell them about DRIS.
- Ask your local cable provider or community channel to carry DRIS' signal.
- Consider making a donation today! Your tax-deductible gift will enable DRIS to expand its listener base; produce quality programming for independent living; educate listeners and health care professionals about DRIS; increase awareness; and publish informative newsletters.
- Become a major sponsor. We will gladly tell you more about program underwriting, paid announcements, event sponsorship or institutional use.
Volunteers & Interns
DRIS offers year-round volunteer opportunities including regular on-air reading, substitute reading, studio work, clerical work, community outreach, fundraising and research. For more information, please go to the Volunteer Information Page.
Consider submitting a Volunteer Application.
DRIS also accepts interns. Generally, internships coincide with college semesters and take place in DRIS Production or PR/Marketing Departments. Please send us your resume and a letter of interest outlining your time frame and goals. Job Descriptions.
As a self-supporting department of WDET, DRIS strives to remain fiscally viable by generating separate operating funds through private donations, restricted projects, grants and contracts. Efficient use of volunteers and interns helps keep operating costs low. DRIS' cash budget of about $180,000 must be raised annually through special project grants, foundations, civic and religious groups, service clubs, corporate and business contributions, special events and the generosity of concerned individuals, including listeners. WDET and Wayne State contribute facilities, technical support, administrative help and the use of a radio sub-channel. This doubles the operations budget and allows more than 90% of all donated funds to be used for program purposes. Donations and sponsors are always welcome.
Support 33 years of audio information excellence! Make a Donation Today!
- DRIS, c/o WDET-FM, 4600 Cass Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201
- 24 hour Program Hotline (313) 577-4207
- Kim Walsh, Director (313) 577-7684
- Volunteer/Outreach Office (313) 577-4207
- Production Studio (313) 577-3322
- DRIS Readers & Program Comments
- WDET Contact List
- WDET Switchboard (313) 577-4146