History of Hospital Broadcasting

Forth Radio Network (FRN) patient listening to music
Edinburgh Hospital Broadcasting Service, formally F.R.N.

In almost every major town and city in the UK and in many other countries around the world, hospital patients have enjoyed a unique service called “hospital broadcasting”.

Hospitalradio4u.com covers the worldwide history of over 900 hospital broadcasting services that have existed in 28 countries from 1919 to 2016.

The service is provided by volunteers who present music, sport commentaries, news, patient participation programmes and, in one case, music from a bandstand. In the UK in 2016 over 7,000 volunteers were involved in providing hospital broadcasting services. Some of these volunteers have been involved for as long as 30 or 40 years and some cases, 50 years.

In addition to the history of the music, sports commentary and TV services, this website also covers the worldwide history of Radio Lollipop and Psychiatric Broadcasting Services and the Veterans Bedside Network in the USA.

Some hospital broadcasts started by simply taking a record player or tape recorder into a hospital ward and playing records or recordings of football commentaries.

At various sports grounds in the UK individuals and organisations had for many years been giving commentaries to parties of blind fans but with the rapid expansion of the sports commentary services to hospitals in the 1950s many of these people formed the nucleus of the early music based hospital broadcasting services.

The first hospital in the world to provide a broadcasting service to its patients started in Washington Reed General Hospital in Washington, USA in May 1919.

The world’s first dedicated broadcast to patients from a studio took place at the York County Hospital in England in 1926, and the first sports commentary service to a hospital took place in 1935 from the home of the Tottenham football club in London.

As at September 2016 the longest running hospital sports commentary service was operating at the Preston Football club, a service that had started in early 1951.The longest running hospital music based service operating from a studio started in mid 1951, at Radio Clatterbridge in Bebington.  

If you believe something has not been stated clearly or correctly please do not hesitate to contact us.

The information on the world wide history of hospital broadcasting contained in this web site was researched and prepared by Bryn Goodwin.


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