History of Oxtalk
We have worked through the first 16 weeks of recording since the re-launch of Oxtalk on Tuesday 12 May 2015 at OAB. Overall it has been a successful 4 months which is thanks to you and OAB.
Because we are now recording and copying on the same night, this meant changes for quite a few people and I thank those who made the changes.
Technical Officers – the TOs are the people who have had to make the new equipment work and there have been ‘hiccups’ but these have not stopped there being a weekly recording. Thank you TOs for working so hard and producing such good quality recordings.
Readers – a replacement Reader has been found when necessary and there have always been 3 Readers on every Tuesday night. Copiers have appreciated the help given by the Readers in filling the pouches.
Copiers – we started with just 1 Copier per Tuesday night but as the listener numbers increased, plus having to produce address cards for the new listeners on a Tuesday night, it was agreed that there needed to be 2 Copiers every Tuesday. There will be 2 Copiers for every Tuesday night in the next Rota. Thank you to everyone for doing extra nights.
News Editors – there have been new combinations during the last 4 months and there are new News Editors in the next 16 weeks.
I am hopeful the next 16 weeks ‘productions’ up to Christmas will be well received by the listeners. Listeners are so pleased to be receiving Oxtalk again and we do hear from various listeners from time to time.
So once again my thanks to everyone. I will not be seeing you as frequently in the future.
Very many thanks. Here’s to the next 16 weeks – and then it will be Christmas!!!
Margaret A Simpson
31 August 2015
Letter from the Chair 2015
2015 OXTALK’s Future Arrangements
Dear OXTALK Volunteer,
In my last email I told you that the last recording of OXTALK Talking Newspaper from the Radio Cherwell recording studio will be on Tuesday 20 January 2015 and the last copying session will be on Wednesday 21 January 2015. After which we will remove all OXTALK’s equipment and bid farewell to OXTALK’s very supportive partner of over 30 years, Neil Stockton – Chairman of Radio Cherwell and Radio Cherwell’s volunteers.
I will inform the listeners of the ‘break in service’ as part of Tuesday night’s recording on 20 JANUARY 2015.
I am very pleased to be able to tell you that just this week at the Oxfordshire Association for the Blind Trustees’ Meeting, the Trustees agreed to offer OXTALK the use of OAB’s premises one night a week – a Tuesday night. Both the OXTALK Committee and the OAB Trustees and staff look forward to developing this new partnership to the benefit of our client group and service users. Colin Cure, Director of OAB, has been very supportive throughout all the discussions. The final details have to be agreed but I can inform you that OAB Trustees are allowing OXTALK to use the premises rent free. OXTALK will make a contribution to the evening’s heating and lighting costs.
We are immensely appreciative of this generous offer. It does mean we can now start the preparations to organise the re-launch of OXTALK.
In future recording and copying will be on the same night – a Tuesday night. This will obviously be okay for the Editors, TOs and Readers. I appreciate this may a pose a problem for some of the Copiers, so I am attaching a questionnaire which I ask everyone to complete and return the questionnaire to me as soon as possible and no later than Saturday 7 February 2015.
Oxfordshire Association for the Blind [OAB] is located at the end of Abingdon Road- on the old Rivermeade Hospital site and opposite the Park & Ride. The address is:-
Bradbury Lodge, Gordon Woodward Way, Oxford OX1 4XL
Tel. 01865 725595
If you visit the website you may find you recognise the building in the photographs.
There is plenty of private and on-road car parking. There is a bus stop on the Abingdon Road just a short walk from OAB.
- We have 5 Technical Officers [TO] and a Reserve TO
- We have 3 Editor/Newsgatherer Teams – we do need at least 1 more team. Do 2 of you, possibly friends or neighbours think this is something you would like to consider a commitment once a month. If so please contact Anne Ambler to find out more – 01865 872628.
- Depending on your replies to the questionnaire I hope we will have enough Readers but we may need 2 or 3 more Copiers.
What needs to be done before we can re-launch.
- Purchase the RECORDING equipment. The TOs will be involved with this task.
- For you to return your completed questionnaire by 7 February at the latest please.
- When we have received your replies we will organise the Editing/Newsgatherer Teams; Reading and Copying Teams and produce new rotas which will be sent out to you by Ray Anson, Volunteers’ Co-ordinator. The TOs have indicated they are willing to continue.
- As we approach re-launch time we plan to have a couple of ‘dry run’ nights at OAB so that we can all familiarise ourselves with the new location and the new recording and copying sessions. I will give you plenty of notice of when these will be.
We are hoping to have OXTALK back in production by Easter at the very latest. Earlier if everything goes smoothly!
I look forward to your continued support for OXTALK.
Margaret A Simpson
Chair of OXTALK
16 January 2015
Oxtalk’s early History
In 1979 a group of blind and sighted people began planning, fundraising and recruiting specialist help to provide talking news in the Oxford area. Ralph Brain, retired news editor of the Oxford Mail, became the first editor of Oxtalk and Keith Wittrick the first technician.
On May 27th 1980 the first tape of the Oxford and District Talking News was produced on C90 cassette; 35 copies were made using the copying facilities at Westminster College and 28 tapes were sent out every fortnight.
We now produce the news exclusively in digital mp3 format, sending out between 150 and 200 usb flash drives per week to our listeners in Oxford and surrounding areas thanks to the work of an army of volunteers supporting the organisation in a variety of ways: from editing the local newspapers, fundraising and recording news items to copying the flash drives, sending them out to listeners and getting involved in the planning of Oxtalk’s activities.
Our thanks go not only to our volunteers but the supporting organisations that make our work possible: the Oxford Mail, whose news items we use on a weekly basis; the Royal Mail, via which we are able to send out the flash drives; and Radio Cherwell, which has been such a staunch supporter of Oxtalk over the years and without the help of which we would be unable to supply our weekly bulletins.