Imagine a world without local news from your surrounding area not covered by TV or radio when you are totally blind or your level of sight disables you from reading your local newspaper. This is where your local talking newspaper comes into its own with a weekly digest of news and information about the local and blind and partially sighted communities.
Up to an hour of local news taken from the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Sutton Coldfield Observer and Birmingham City Council’s Media department. There is a slant towards either north or south Birmingham dependent on the location where the listener resides.
This covers a full spectrum of generally longer length items relating to the local, blind and visually impaired communities and lasts around the hour. Each week we have at least one or more interviews bringing you features from the local and blind communities. We also have regular features including a Noticeboard full of information for you, From the Potting Shed, Cookery Corner, Journey – the audio Thought for the Week from Torch Trust, Bookshelf and Theatre Break. We offer a quiz most weeks as well as the occasional series featuring places or people in the Birmingham area.
Every month there is an extra magazine put together in conjunction with friends from the Mount Players of Bromsgrove, a local amateur dramatic group. This 90 minute compilation is a selection of entertaining items chosen by or written by the readers themselves.
U3A English History Talks / Miscellany Magazine
We are also delighted to be able to feature English History Talks recorded live at the U3A (University of the Third Age) in Sutton Coldfield. These are proving very popular with our existing listeners. However they are not available every week so on those occasions we produce a Miscellany Magazine, the contents of which have a History and Geography flavour.
As the name suggests, these are extra items which we were unable feature on the Weekly News but are of a non-time critical nature.
Our present listeners seem to like what they receive:-
“One of your team members suggested that I could benefit from your help. And boy, have I realised how much information I have been missing. Please carry on your good work. I applaud you all.”
Mrs. R. Sutton Coldfield
We have been “in business” since 5 November 1976 when you could say that as it was Guy Fawkes Night, we started with a bang. We sent out about 70 tapes in the beginning and today we have a database of around 640 addresses. However, we do feel many who would be eligible for the delights of Birmingham Talking Newspaper have not yet joined our ranks, so we really welcome new listeners.
We have made arrangements with the Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Post, Sutton Coldfield Observer, Sunday Mercury and www.birminghamnewsroom.com (the Council’s online newsroom) to use material together with a whole number of other newspapers, periodicals and magazines for our own magazine. We thank each and every one for their agreement and support.
We record weekly at Sutton Coldfield Methodist Church in South Parade, Sutton Coldfield for our North edition and our weekly magazine and at the University of Birmingham in Selly Oak for our South edition, Monthly Magazine and Monthly News Supplement. Across the whole of Birmingham, about 20 teams of about five to nine people meet to prepare and record each edition. Two separate editions for the North and the South of Birmingham are recorded in the two locations each week on Fridays. The magazine is recorded in advance of the news not being so time critical in its production. There are around 130 volunteers on our books with quite a few belonging to more than one team.
These days you can also hear our content on this website together with some of the series we have covered on our Weekly Magazine. You can hear selective interviews on the Audioboo website at www.audioboo.fm/channel/vip-advisor . We are also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1118365188251061 or just do a Google search for “Birmingham Talking Newspaper Facebook”. Here you can be bang up to date about what is happening at BTNA.