June 2, 2020
We now have two new ways to listen:
First, for those of you with Amazon Echo smart speakers, there is an Alexa Skill. You must enable it the first time by saying “Alexa enable Radio Talking Book.” Then to listen, say, “Alexa Play Radio Talking book.” You can’t use RTB, it must be said in full. You will then be prompted to listen to the live stream, get the schedule, or find out what is on. Say what you want to do. The schedule, and what’s playing are not accurate while we broadcast Audio-Reader. You will be asked if you are blind or print-disabled. Answer the question, and start listening.
Secondly, there are Android and iOS apps for iPhones, Android phones, iPads and Android tablets. They are available from the Google Play Store and the Apple iOS App Store. Search for Radio Talking Book. For Apple you can also search for RTB. Make sure you have the Minnesota app as there are similarly named apps. You can listen to either the live stream or an archived program with both of these apps.
As you know, the RTB reads newspapers, books, and magazines 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Most of the reading is done by auditioned and trained volunteers.
In mid-March, SSB’s 2200 University Ave. W., headquarters building was locked, and we lost access to it. Consequently, we started rebroadcasting the Kansas Audio-Reader Network, another reading service that was set up to operate remotely. Their programming is similar to ours, and they read newspapers from Kansas City, among others.
Starting on April 16, we got permission to have one broadcaster in the building for two hours in the morning, and one hour in the late afternoon, so we resumed reading the Minneapolis and St. Paul newspapers.
During this time of civil unrest, we have lost access to our building once again – it was closed for safety reasons. It will open up again on Tuesday June 2. We will be able to resume local newspapers at that time. We are currently planning for our own remote operation – but this is a medium/long-term project.
As you may know, the broadcast portion of the RTB will cease operation on October 1, 2020.The cost to lease the signal across Minnesota wasn’t justified by the number of listeners. We are continuing operation with a variety of new and supplemented transmission modes. All of these are available now.
You can listen to the live stream of the programming, or an archived program up to one week old at the link http://www.mnssb.org/rtb
A password is no longer required – and this service has been available for a number of years. You can also listen via the Sero smartphone app.
We will have a complete “Frequently Asked Questions” document on our web site in the near future.
Please pass this along to your students, and happy listening!
Contact Your State Services
If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
To find your State Services in your State you can go to www.AFB.org and search the directory for your agency.
Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Assistive Technology Community for the Blind and Visually Impaired. and the Facebook group That Blind Tech Show.