Did You Know

Rocktalk – the Talk of the Town!

Where do you find the latest chat? How can you catch up on the local news?

An obvious place would be the newspaper, and the Stirling Observer just fits the bill for our area. But hang on, supposing you have lost your sight, or it has become so bad that newspapers just don’t work for you anymore?

This is where Rocktalk is the answer- a talking newspaper!

It was in 1983 that a group of journalists from the Stirling Observer decided to read selected articles on to audio cassettes for folks who couldn’t see, and about 20 of these were copied and distributed each week. Since then, the service has grown in numbers, in volunteers and transformed in technology.

Around 2005, the audio tapes were replaced by CDs and in 2016, these were succeeded by memory sticks. Very fast copying is now possible and well over 100 copies have been sent out each week over the years. Each recipient is given a robust player which is simple to use in their own home and receives a weekly memory stick in a re-usable padded envelope, delivered free by the Post Office. These are then returnable in the same envelope, simply by turning over the address label. Listeners can then enjoy around 80 minutes of news and reports, these days read by a team of over 20 readers, working in groups of 4 on a rota basis. Several of this number undertake to be ‘editor’ for that week and dissect 2 copies of the paper, choosing which items to include. This actually leads to an interesting selection of articles, according to the editor’s taste!

In total, there are 40 volunteers to keep this service running, technicians, copiers, admin folks, readers and editors.

And there is more! Each month a group of folks gather together interesting articles from various magazines and record about an hour of fun, fact and fiction, which goes out with each newspaper, so listeners don’t have to read it all in one week.

Rocktalk has come a long way in over 30 years and has been a real blessing to hundreds of people in that time. It is a completely free service to its users and as a charity depends on the generosity of the public. Although throughout the UK there are dozens of local talking newspapers, they can often be relatively unknown and under publicised. So…


For more information, or if you, or anyone you know might benefit from this service, please contact us by e-mail:  enquiries@rocktalk.org.uk or call: 01786 816673

Marilyn and Steve Willett