ALTON - continues to be the leader when it comes to technology and is taking another major step forward on Monday as it unveils the new Daily News Podcast available on Amazon Alexa, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Tune-In, Stitcher, Facebook, and all the other popular places people get their news.

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Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox. owner John Hentrich said he is very excited about being able to offer the new service to his current audience and also to a whole new group of people who are already using podcasts on emerging technology such as Alexa, Google Home, and smart phones.

The new podcast is an abbreviated audio version of Riverbender’s top news and sports headlines. This newscast, which is typically less than 5 minutes in length, is designed to get your day started with a quick wrap up of what's happening locally. Some users will enjoy the podcast on their Alexa in the morning while getting ready for work, and others might listen on their computer at work while doing other tasks. Having the newscast available on smart phones, computers, and smart speakers will allow users to listen when they want and where they want in an easy and convenient format.

Like the online product, the daily newscast service will be completely free to listeners. The service is made possible through sponsorship by Mungenast Alton Toyota, Argosy Casino, and Hit-N-Run Convenience Stores. Be sure to thank these and all the Riverbender advertisers for supporting your local media.

Local voice talent David Ollenbittle will be the voice behind's new podcast. Ollenbittle has considerable experience in the radio and voice industry. David said “I read Riverbender daily, and when John approached me to do this project for him I was super excited to be a part of it.” “I think it's a great opportunity for me and it's a great service to the local community”

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There is no question that the most convenient way to listen to the newscast is with a voice controlled smart speaker such as Alexa. According to several online sources there have been approximately 45 million smart speakers sold to date. This includes both the Alexa and the Google Home. In addition to the smart speakers, Google boasts that 400 million devices have already been sold with the Google Assistant service installed. Google’s number is mostly Android smartphones, but it also includes smart TVs and other devices.

For those unfamiliar, Alexa is considered a smart speaker and like your smart phone, it is always connected to the Internet to help you with all sorts of different tasks. While many people use the smart speaker to stream music, check the weather forecast, set reminders, turn on and off lights around the house and all kinds of other stuff... Now you can use Alexa to give you the local news and sports headlines from

Hentrich said the company started developing its first Alexa skill last year when it became obvious this new product line was going to drastically change the way we interact with the Internet and online streaming services. “Never before has Internet content been so accessible as it is now with simple voice commands.” “I am pretty amazed by the technology in the new smart speakers and their momentum is going to boost our brand even further into the homes and lives of people in the Riverbend.”

If you don’t have an Alexa yet, you can still listen to the Newscast on your smart phone or on your computer. Click this link to learn more about all the options currently available. Service on the Google Home and Spotify is still pending approval but should available very soon.

If you would like to purchase an Alexa or Google Home, they are available just about everywhere with prices starting at $49. If you would like to support The Riverbender Community Center while making your purchase you can specify that at

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