Radio Talking Book Service provides human-voiced print information choices to individuals who have disabilities that prevent them from reading. RTBS has two programs: Radio Talking Book Network, a statewide radio reading service bringing the printed word to life with the reading of 11 newspapers and programming from over 75 periodicals; and Listening Link, an educational reading program providing recordings of textbooks and course material required for academic success.
In 2016, RTBN underwent several technological changes, enabling us to expand our reach. We implemented an internet stream that can be accessed on: our website; personal computers and tablets; two smart phone apps, TuneIn Radio and Sero/iBlink; and two new radio receiver options provided to our listeners at no cost. One streaming receiver option is the Barix box, a single unit that enables RTBN to broadcast to all persons residing in one facility, such as a nursing home. The VA Medical Center in Omaha recently installed a Barix box to bring RTBN to their entire facility. These technological improvements paired with ambitious outreach efforts led to an increase in listenership of 3,900 individuals since June 2016.
The Listening Link program assists blind, visually impaired, and learning disabled students in eliminating educational barriers they face. Founded in 1992, Listening Link works with area schools and colleges, providing human-voiced recordings of textbooks and other course material required for degree completion and academic success. Volunteers provide over 2,000 hours of recorded textbooks and other educational materials that are not already available commercially or through such sources as the Library of Congress or Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic.
"The variety of programs and news media...it's amazing!" Betty from Omaha gushes.
A 90 year-old Omaha listener tells us, "If I was stranded on a desert island, the only thing I would need to be happy would be my Radio Talking Book receiver."
Carol from Omaha told us "I've had to give up the Omaha World Herald and I've had that for 50 years. I'm so excited to listen to the Omaha World Herald with my radio!"
"You have a wonderful program to help the visually impaired. We are very much interested in staying alive intellectually," said an RTBN listener from Council Bluffs, IA.
The husband of a listener who lives near Hyannis, NE wrote, "We have received the new talking radio and it works great! The information is so good to have. Thanks so much."
A Chadron listener wrote, "Radio Talking Book is the one bright light of the days and nights that keeps me in balance."
A North Carolina donor wrote, "My Mom really enjoyed listening to your radio programs. Her favorite program was the man who reads the supermarket ads. She moved to be closer to me and already misses the service."