Radio Talking Book Network

Radio Talking Book Network (RTBN), founded in 1974, is Nebraska’s audio companion and only radio reading service.  RTBN features the reading of 11 regional and national newspapers, information from over 70 magazines, live interviews on our Community Conversation, a Veterans Hour, grocery and department store ads weekly, and much more.  To do this, RTBN uses over 100 volunteer readers, whose diverse voices are broadcast throughout Nebraska over closed-circuit sub-carrier frequencies of public radio and television stations.  The voices of RTBN help alleviate isolation, which often affects people with diminishing vision, providing listeners with companionship.  This human and personal presentation reaches listeners through RTBN’s radio receivers, a familiar, easy-to-use medium provided at no cost to eligible individuals and care facilities.  RTBN is now available via 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.  Fill out an application for a radio here.

Radio Talking Book Network makes creative use of technology and talent to ensure that every disabled person has equal access to current, local print information.  With the implementation of our internet stream and acquisition of new radio options in 2016, RTBN is now able to provide much improved service in rural areas and in care facilities.  One of the new options is the Barix box, a single unit that enables RTBN to broadcast to all persons residing in one facility, such as a nursing home.  Recently, the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Omaha and Grand Islane implemented RTBN in their entire facility using a Barix box.

Community Served

There are an estimated 39,000 blind or visually impaired individuals in Nebraska, and this population is denied access to more than 95% of published works.  RTBN’s audience is quite diverse as people lose the ability to read for many reasons, including birth defects and cognitive disorders like dyslexia.  Stroke, accident, chronic illness or other infirmities can also impair reading.  The increasing incidence of age-related disability, eye disease, and vision loss, which affects up to 25 percent of persons aged 65 and over, is the most common reason for using RTBN.  We often hear from those we serve that what they miss the most is driving a car and reading the newspaper.  While we don’t generally drive a car for them, we are pleased to be able to read the paper to them every day of the year.

RTBN Programming

Radio Talking Book Network provides local, current print information necessary to lead a self-directed, independent life.  Our programming includes the following:

  • Newspapers: Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, North Platte Telegraph, Grand Island Independent, Scottsbluff Star-Herald, Norfolk Daily News, Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Fremont Tribune, Columbus Telegram, The Omaha Star, Kearney Hub, Hastings TribuneWall Street Journal 
  • Informative: Weekly Department Store & Grocery Ads, Heath & Wellness, Consumer Info, Veterans Hour, Science & Environment, Senior Summary, What's Cooking, Community Conversations
  • Arts, Culture and Hobbies: Sports, Nebraska Life, Home and Garden, Good Old Days, Pet Pause, Trips & Travel, Entertainment Update
  • Entertainment: Bookshelf, Mystery Theater, Poetry, Nostalgia Radio

  For a complete program schedule, please click here.