About

How It Works

Lothiansound has been bringing the news to visually-impaired Listeners since 1988. During that time, the organisation has recorded more than 1,500 editions. Hundreds of Volunteers have played their part in turning newsprint into audio recordings. Over the past thirty years, our enthusiastic Volunteers have distributed tapes, CDs and memory sticks to hundreds of Listeners.

Each recording is made and dispatched over the course of one week. The lifecycle of a Lothiansound recording looks like this:

SELECTING OUR STORIES

A cartoon microphone cuts articles out of a newspaper.

First of all, the Article Editor carefully combs through six days of local newspapers, identifying the key stories from that week. These articles are cut out and pasted onto thick paper, to avoid rustling noises during readings. The articles are combined with an introduction, specific updates for visually-impaired Listeners and a quiz to form a running script for that week's group recording.

THE RECORDING SESSION

A cartoon microphone reads a newspaper aloud to an attentive memory stick.

A Reading Team, comprising 5 Readers and a Sound Engineer, gathers in Lothiansound's studio to make a digital recording of the script.

The team take turns to read articles and describe the accompanying pictures from the papers. There have been no rehearsals, and this is the first time our readers have seen the stories, so mistakes and slips do happen. The Sound Engineer takes a note of any errors and, after the main recording session completes, makes amends to create a final corrected copy of the audio track.

COPYING THE RECORDING

A cartoon microphone encourages a band of keen memory sticks to plug into a bulk copying machine.

Our next step is to make copies of the master recording for each Listener. Most copies are now made onto memory sticks using specialised computer software.

CHECKING FOR ISSUES

A cartoon microphone listens to a recording on a computer with a memory stick plugged into it.

Spot checks are made on random memory sticks to ensure there are no problems with the duplication process.

DISPATCHING OUR RECORDINGS

A cartoon microphone drops memory sticks, packaged in pouches, into a Royal Mail sack.

The memory sticks are then placed into Listener wallets. These wallets are loaded into a Royal Mail bag, for posting. The Lothiansound recordings then trace their way around the country, and in some cases, around the world, to reach our Listeners.

MEMORY STICK DELIVERIES

A cartoon memory stick announces its arrival with a cheery 'Good Morning' at the door of a Listener.

Courtesy of Royal Mail, our wallets then arrive with our Listeners.

LISTEN AND ENJOY

A Listener enjoys the news from their Lothiansound recording while a cartoon microphone looks on.

Our Listeners enjoy the recordings of 90 minutes of local Edinburgh news and entertainment.

RETURNING THE WALLETS

A cartoon memory stick sits jauntily atop a postbox, reminding us to return sticks in pouches on a Friday.

Our Listeners have up to a week to kindly post their wallets back into Royal Mail, for safe return to Lothiansound HQ.

THE CYCLE REPEATS

A cartoon microphone enjoys a restful Saturday – listening to music, swimming, watching a play and taking in a round of golf.

While the memory sticks make their way back to base, Lothiansound Volunteers enjoy rest up and prepare for the cycle to start again.

CHANGES AND QUERIES

A cartoon microphone updates a spreadsheet of returned memory sticks.

Each week, our Volunteers also add any new Listeners into our systems and make any necessary updates in our Listener records. Volunteers will receive queries and respond to messages on our answering machine throughout the week.





Lothiansound would like to thank Deirdre O'Neill for her wonderful illustrations of our activities.