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Telephone Reader FAQ

Q: What is the toll-free number for Telephone Reader in my area?

A: There are four Telephone Reader access numbers:

  • From anywhere in the United States, dial 1-800-335-1221.
  • In the Kansas City metro area (for listeners with 816 or 913 area codes), dial 913-897-8787
  • In the Topeka area, dial 785-887-8025.
  • In Lawrence, dial 785-864-7474.
  • In Springfield, MO, dial 417-719-1125

Q: Why do I sometimes get a busy signal when trying to access Telephone Reader?

A: We have a limited number of phone lines available to accommodate all the listener and home volunteer reader traffic on the system. People get on and off the system every few minutes, and if you get a busy signal, please hang up and try again in five or ten minutes.


Q: Why does the TR access number occasionally ring and ring without the TR system answering?

A: Occasionally, network problems cause Telephone Reader to crash. In these instances, we try to get it back online as soon as possible, but in some cases, TR may be out of service for a period of time. If you call and the system does not answer, please try again a few minutes later.


Q: Why do I have to enter my Identification Code and Security Code to access the system? What do I do if I forget those numbers?

A: We require the use of those codes to limit access to the system (everyone approved for TR must be certified as having difficulty using normal printed materials), and to track statistics on how often the various publications are being listened to.

If you forget your codes, call 785-864-4612 to speak with the Telephone Reader Supervisor on duty. You may also call the main number at 1-800-772-8898 and speak with anyone on staff.


Q: Is it possible to request a recording of a publication not available on Telephone Reader or Audio-Reader radio?

A: Yes. To make a special request, call Lisa Werner at 785-864-2685.


Q: Sometimes, when I dial in to listen to Kansas City Star Sports or Kansas City Star Remembrances, it seems like some of the articles are missing. Why is that? 

A: Those assignments are split among two volunteer readers, and if some articles are missing at a given time, especially if it's early in the morning, it means that one of the readers has not yet started their part of the assignment. In that case, please call back a little bit later to hear the full complement of articles.


Q: Why is a section of the Kansas City Star newspaper missing from Telephone Reader today?

A: There are several reasons why a particular reading might be missing. Newspaper sections are read by volunteers who may occasionally miss their scheduled readings. In these cases, A-R staff do the best we can to get all the readings onto the system each day, but occasionally, there are too many openings to cover, and a section remains unavailable (this is quite rare, however). Also, volunteers occasionally record assignments in the wrong locations on the system, which renders them unavailable unless/until they are discovered and put in the correct locations.


Q: Why are some publications not available on Telephone Reader, and where else I can go to hear recorded content on a telephone-based system?

A: The content on Telephone Reader is selected for local, state, and regional relevance. There are practical limits to how many publications can be made available, and some publications may not be considered appropriate for inclusion on Telephone Reader.

The National Federation of the Blind operates a national dial-up service called NFB-Newsline, which is available at 1-866-504-7300.


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