Behind the Scenes

Watch, Listen or Read

Storyboard of the Video

Person sitting at table reading article from magazine.

Work on the weekly Mid Devon Messenger begins with the team leader for the week, here sat at a kitchen table in front of a window overlooking a garden, as she selects items from the local newspaper and other local publications.

In front of them on the table is the Tiverton Gazette and a selection of other magazines and leaflets that provide the material which will be sorted into a running order. This will be sent out to the team of readers who will gather later in the day to record the week’s edition of the Mid Devon Messenger.

Selections of publications on table from which articles will be chosen.
Alternate men and women reading, sat round table with microphones.

Inside a room at the Old Heathcoat School Community Centre the team of readers sits round three sides of a square of tables covered with a green sound absorbent cloth. In front of them, mounted on swing arms, are red microphones.

To the fourth side sits a longer table on which is the ‘sound-desk’ with a mixer and laptop. Behind this the ‘Producer’ sits, adjusting the faders for the mics as they control and record the different tracks which make up the week’s Messenger.

Man with headphones sat behind a computer and sound mixer.

The readers, alternate male and female voices, read the selected articles – making council meeting reports interesting and brightly reporting the good news stories -adding a quiz and occasional interview as well as magazine section type articles.

On a grass bank is a sign behind which are two silver birch trees and the wall of a building. The wording on the sign is ‘Heathcoat Fabrics’ below which there is the word ‘Reception’ and an arrow to the left.

Heathcoat Fabrics is where the Post Office returns the pouches from listeners.

Heathcoat fabrics sign on grass bank beside road.
Full grey Royal Mail post sack being held.

In front of a wall there is an arm holding a grey Royal Mail post sack which contains the hundred or so yellow pouches returned by listeners each week. Collected from the gatehouse at Heathcoat Fabrics, it is taken to the building used by the Mid Devon Messenger at the Old Heathcoat school community centre.

This is a single storey, brick building to the left of the main old school. Three wide arched windows give light to the ‘studio’ inside. There’s a ramp across the front of the building leading to a glazed entrance.

Single story brick building with three wide arched windows and double door.
Lady opening pouch at table with other pouches and boxes on the table.

The mail sack is on a table with returned pouches spilling out. A person is sat opening the pouches and removing the USB sticks, placing them in a plastic container. The volunteer is then reversing the address labels and passes the pouches for scanning. The USB sticks go through a cleaning process before the new recording is copied onto them.

At another table a volunteer is scanning the bar code on the listeners’ address labels into an admin program on a laptop which is to one side. The scanned pouches are being placed in alphabetical order in old shoe boxes on the table.

Person sat by a laptop.
scanning labels on pouches.
Volunteer working at laptop.

Final checks are made on the admin program on the laptop to ensure all the listeners will be getting a copy of the week’s recording.

The Copier, a large black box with slots for 21 USBs, sits on a table. The returned USB sticks are slotted in the front for the old recording to be removed before the new recording is copied. The recording is then tested on a globe, ArtDio USB player, alongside.

A black electrical box on tabletop. Slots in front of box for USB sticks. Some slots have yellow USBs in them.
Full grey Royal Mail post sack being held again.

Once copied the USBs are popped into the yellow pouches, the pouches into the post sack and the post sack returned to the gate house at Heathcoat Fabrics for collection by Royal Mail.

The postman arrives and walks up the front path before knocking on a blue front door.

Postman hands yellow pouch to lady outside her home.
Lady sat in chair listening. USB in Player on windowsill.

Inside now and our listener is sat in an easy chair beside a covered radiator and window. On the windowsill are a number of plants. Propped up in front of one of them is the yellow Mid Devon Messenger pouch. Alongside is the listeners black and yellow USB player with a USB stick in the top. Catching the light as it’s turned towards the window, there is a calm, reflective expression on the listener’s face as she listens to the week’s recording of – the Mid Devon Messenger.

The Mid Devon Messenger is available on a USB memory stick for those who are Visually Impaired.

For others, the Mid Devon Messenger is also available via the Mid Devon Messenger website, the British Wireless for the Blind Talking Newspaper app, Spotify or on other Podcast platforms.

Image of USB player and logos to represent the different ways to access the Mid Devon Messenger.