What volunteers do

The number of volunteers has remained steady at about 50 over many years. A substantial number have been with us for over 25 years and we still have 2 active founder members.

We produce the weekly news recording each Friday evening in the studio in Franche, Kidderminster.

Volunteers are allocated to teams or to specific jobs:

  • News Editors
  • Technicians
  • Reading, backroom team, copying, distribution
  • Listeners’ liaison officer
  • Magazine editor

Producing the weekly news recording

Editors

The 4 editors take it in turns to make a selection of articles, features, reports and announcements from the week’s Kidderminster Shuttle Times and News, making sure they fit into a 90 minute slots. This process begins on Thursday morning, The chosen items are pasted onto boards for the reading team to record on the Friday evening. The editor supervises the readers during the recording session. They are on duty every 4 weeks.

Technicians

The 4 technicians are responsible for the quality of each week’s master recordings and the copies which are made to send to the listeners. They set up and monitor the recording equipment and ensure that all of our electrical equipment operates efficiently.

Most of the editors and technicians have not had professional experience of the jobs they do for the Talking Newspaper. They have reached a high level of expertise from learning on the job. We have a Chief Editor and Chief Technician who have joint overall responsibility for the quality of the recordings we provide.

Listeners’ Liaison Officer

The LLO is the first point of contact for new listeners and the vital link between our organisation and our listeners. She enrols new listeners and checks that all listeners receive recordings. If a listener doesn’t send recordings back over a 4-week spell, she contacts them to make sure all is well. She also arranges for listeners to be shown how to use the boombox and memory stick

Magazine Editor

This editor reads a wide range of magazines over the year and makes a selection for each of the 3 editions. Unlike the weekly news editions, scripts are distributed to the Magpie readers (who are drawn in turn from the 3 general teams) about 2 weeks before the recording date.

Readers, Backroom Team, Copying and Distribution

Volunteers perform the general tasks in teams of about 12 members (Puffins, Early Birds and Night Owls) and are on duty roughly once every 3 weeks. They take it in turn to do the various jobs in accordance to a rota drawn up by the team coordinator. Rotas are drawn up for a period of about 18 weeks so that we all have ample notice of when we need to be available. Swaps can always be arranged if individual circumstances change.

Their jobs include:

  • receiving returned memory sticks and preparing the wallets for dispatch
  • reading the week’s news for the recording
  • making copies from the master recording to send to listeners
  •  putting the copied memory sticks into plastic wallets for the postman

Volunteers need to be at the studio by 6.45pm in order to start recording promptly at 7pm.

If there are no major hitches (they are rare), the copying/dispatch team goes home by 10.15pm