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Scottish Charity SC-015947

The Production Process


Wallet and Memory Stick (cropped)

Listeners using our free postal service can look forward to receiving a bright yellow wallet like this every week containing a USB Memory Stick on which is recorded the current week’s edition of Hamilton Sound.

It’s usually delivered on a Saturday morning but some listeners with ML3 Post Codes may even receive their wallet on Fridays (the same day as the Hamilton Advertiser’s publication date).

The wallet is padded and has a Velcro™ fastener at one end for easy access and resealing. A clear address panel contains a reversible card with the listener’s name and address on one side and the Hamilton Sound tape return address on the other. The address card has one corner missing which allows the listener to easily identify which side is uppermost. The Hamilton Sound address is visible if the top right hand corner is missing (as shown in the picture above).

Sovereign PlayerIf listeners are already subscribers to other Talking Newspapers or Talking Book Services in all probability they will already have a suitable playback machine. If not we can supply one like this for a subsidised one-off charge of £25.

Our recently introduced digital service makes Hamilton Sound available to all who have a broad band internet connection.  Listeners can listen to Hamilton Sound by using their computer's web browser (such as MS Internet Explorer) or can download the programme for storage on their computer hard drive or portable media player (such as iPod) for later listening.

We are also making our programme streams available to appropriate web radio service providers such as the British Wireless Fund for the Blind's Sonata Service.  Sonata users simply select 'Talking Newspapers' then 'Hamilton Sound' via their menu selector.  We hope to be available on the RNIB Plextalk devices whenever this service becomes available from RNIB.

This is our production process from beginning to end.

Our Duty Editor begins with two copies of the Hamilton Advertiser which are collected ‘hot off the press’ on a Thursday around lunchtime. Two copies are required for reasons which will become clear shortly.

Because we couldn’t possibly record every single printed word in the newspaper in under 90 minutes we need to edit the contents and select the material we wish to record. We follow a very strict editing policy which ensures that we select material which satisfies a reasonably representative cross section of our listeners' tastes and interests. We try not to censor and we listen carefully to the feedback we get from our listeners to make sure we continue to get it just about right.

Having selected the articles from each page for recording, the Duty Editor snips these from the newspaper and places each cutting in a series of plastic wallets in their intended reading order. Of course, snipping articles from one page destroys the page on the reverse side, so we need two copies of the newspaper (one for odd numbered pages, the other for even numbered pages).

By 7 p.m. on Thursday evening the editor will have delivered the cuttings to our Recording Studio and the evening team takes over. Some will deal with the returned wallets from the previous week’s production. They will open the wallets, extract any messages, check the memory sticks for damage and check the listener’s name off on our returns register. At the same time the recording team, comprising the duty studio engineer and 3 readers from one of our 4 teams of readers, will get down to the business of recording the program.

When the Master Recording has been completed the program contents are prepared for copying to our listener’s memory sticks and uploaded to our website for on-line access and broadcast. The listeners’ Memory Sticks are then placed in their wallets and delivered to the Post Office first thing Friday morning.

Listeners return their wallets to us by the following Thursday and so the cycle continues.