South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

RIS on South Side earns 2008 Van Essen Award


Radio Information Service (RIS) has been honored with the 2008 William Van Essen Award, presented by the Western Pennsylvania Optometric Society (WPOS).

“Radio Information Service has so enriched the lives of those suffering from debilitating vision loss, that we are honored to present this award,” said Robert McCauley, O.D., president of the society. The annual Van Essen Award is given by the medical society to a person or organization that has contributed to the visual welfare of the public.

Deborah Weppelman, RIS Program/executive director, accepted the award at the WPOS annual dinner at Phipps Conservatory on March 9.

“It is wonderful for RIS to be recognized in this manner, especially from a group of medical professionals who are so dedicated to the same constituents as the reading service,” said Ms. Weppelman.

Founded in 1976, Radio Information Service is a nonprofit radio station that provides current information 24 hours a day for thousands of listeners who are blind, visually impaired, or who cannot access print materials. More than 260 volunteers read daily newspapers, magazines, and books, as well as provide specialized programming for this audience.

Broadcasting on sub carriers of WDUQ-FM and WQED-FM, the RIS private signal is available by subscription through special receivers, a telephone dial-in system, the RIS website, and the Comcast Cable system. RIS is a service of WDUQ-FM.

For more information, contact RIS at 412-488-3944 or


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