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Our History

The first voices of IRIS were broadcast in 1972 by the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Volunteers read aloud from The Des Moines Register and The Des Moines Tribune for a few hours a day - and the broadcast signal was limited to the Des Moines area. When funding cuts threatened to silence the voices of IRIS, the volunteers came together to save the service and establish IRIS as an independent organization. Through their hard work and dedication, these volunteers were able to set up studio space at the House of Mercy in Des Moines. It all came together on August 21, 1989 - when IRIS went on the air for the first time as an free-standing organization. But that was just the beginning! The IRIS signal can not be heard on regular radios. IRIS provides custom radios to our listeners at no cost to them.


IRIS is a free news and information service that broadcasts 24 hours a day, every day of the year to thousands of listeners throughout Iowa. Each day, volunteers in seven locations across the state sit down in front of an IRIS microphone and read aloud from their local newspapers. These dedicated volunteers, over 300 strong, are the voices that help keep our listeners connected to their communities.

IRIS broadcasts readings from current newspapers, magazines and other publications. We also broadcast national publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, People, Sports Illustrated, Reader's Digest, Oprah and more.

The Iowa Radio Reading Information Service for the Blind and Print Handicapped (IRIS) exists to bring the world of information to Iowans who cannot access the printed word because of blindness, visual or physical impairment or learning difference.

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Contact IRIS

Office: 515.243.6833

Toll Free: 877.404.4747

Fax: 515.883.1906

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Link to Iowa Department for the Blind

Link to Iowa Public Radio Site

Link to Iowa Public Television Site

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"I listen to IRIS every day. It means so much to be able to stay on top of all the news and health information." Mavis

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