Untitled‎ > ‎

History of the VOP

Until 1973, the only way to record and copy oral information was by means of what we called "Reel-to-Reel" machines.  They used 12-hour cassettes, were large, heavy and very expensive.  Then, the Audio Tape became available - small, inexpensive (as were their 'tape recorders') and generally limited to 90 minutes of recording time.  They could be easily sent through the post in plastic wallets at no cost, thanks to the Post Office.  Someone saw these new devices as a means of producing "Talking Newspapers" to keep people no longer able to read in touch with local news and the local community.
 
The Voice of Progress was amongst the earliest organisations to realise the importance of TNs, and was formed by members of the Rotary Club of Littlehampton in 1975, initially producing fortnightly editions of "The Voice of Progress" for Littlehampton, working out of their garages and garden sheds.  'Progress' is the motto of the town of Littlehampton.  The idea developed quickly both within the blind community and generally, and shortly thereafter The Rotary Club of West Worthing joined forces.  Since then separate Worthing and Littlehampton editions have been published.  The volume of local news is such that fortnightly editions are best, and each news edition is followed by a magazine that is common to both towns.  The local press has survived many problems over the years.  Radio and television, local and national, intended to see off the ‘local rags’ by constant news updates and making deadly raids on its advertising lifeblood.  But they have survived and remain an integral part of local communities.  Like most Talking Newspapers, VOP took shape from all the local papers.  The theme is local, regular and free.  The regular cassette became almost the norm and that proved to be a great attraction to listeners.  Our more-than-sixty Volunteers come from from the community as a whole as well as Rotarians, all of whom have responded to the challenge of providing bi-weekly editing, reading, production and distribution.  They work out of a studio whch Billy Butlin gave, a building sited in the grounds of another Rotary enterprise, a Housing Association called Rustington Hall.
 
While the cassette tape was the making of Talking Newspapers, this is changing.  VOP has been using digital recording equipment since 2008 and are supplying listeners with their Littlehampton Talking Newspaper and Worthing Talking Newspaper recordings on CDs as well as continuing to supply audio tapes to those listeners that prefer them.