40 years and counting!
A Talking Newspaper is a recording of a newspaper. The idea of recording the local paper onto tape for blind persons originated in Scandinavia. Wales first produced a British version and this was in the days of large and heavy reel to reel tape machines. From the advent of tape cassettes and small playing machines the idea took off and rapidly spread throughout the country.
There is a parent body to which most Talking Newspapers are affiliated, the Talking Newspaper Association of the UK (TNAUK). This is our public voice which represents us to the Government and handles national press releases.
Evesham's Talking Newspaper started in 1980. The Round Table and Rotary were largely responsible for raising funds to purchase the equipment required which includes a decent master recorder, microphones, copying machines, tape cassettes and more recently, USB memory sticks, with players.
In our early days we had to make recordings wherever we could be offered a little temporary space, or in our homes, but now, with the help of John Martin's Trust, we have a studio within their premises.
Originally, a master recording was made onto a tape cassette, by volunteers reading news from the Evesham Journal and Admag. Then further copies were produced and posted out in special envelopes, to our listeners. Listeners then returned them to the studio for re recording.
By the 1990s, the team of volunteers had grown, larger fast copying machines were available, and the circulation increased. Fundraising allowed us to purchase portable tape players for loan to our listeners.
More recently, we have invested in digital recording and copying equipment, producing news onto USB memory sticks, and supplying our listeners with small audio players.
The format has not changed in many years. Our aim is to give listeners the main news from two weeks issues of newspapers, along with family announcements, whats on, street hazards, etc, maybe a short story or poem, and of course any birthday greetings! Sometimes our own "roving reporter" adds a recording on the end of the news, with a feature of special local interest.