AM & FM Services
In the late 1980s hospital radio services started using an AM Inductive loop system to relay their programmes. The first services to use this technology included Radio Heatherwood , Seaside Hospital Radio and Hospital Radio Basingstoke in 1988 and Radio Brockley in 1989.
Radio Heatherwood reported: “The AM Inductive Loop service started on 2 April 1988. The system is very different to that of local or national radio, instead of a single aerial, 34 aerials were placed around the hospital. A radio within their boundaries can receive the service”. Each aerial had a reception radius of about 20 meters.
Note: The name of the first hospital broadcasting service to utilise the Inductive Loop system has not been established.
“In 1992 Radio Redhill was selected to be the first hospital radio service in the UK to work with the Radio Authority and the Department of Trade & Industry to establish the feasibility of FM broadcasting for hospital radio — an experiment that was even mentioned in the House of Commons!”
Radio Redhill wasn’t able to obtain a FM frequency once the low power licences became available in the mid 1990s, as it was decided that FM would only be available in a few parts of the country. Note: Radio Redhill started broadcasting on AM in 2000.
During 1995 Radio Lonsdale, the Barrow-in-Furness Hospital Broadcasting Service, was commissioned by the Radio Authority to conduct experimental F.M. transmissions, with a view to a wavelength being allocated for hospital broadcasting use.
The pilot broadcasts were successful and in early 1996 Radio Lonsdale became the first hospital radio station in UK to be awarded a full-time restricted service license – on 87.7 FM with an output of 50 milliwatts. Note: Restricted Service Licences are allocated to FM sub-band 87.6 – 88.0 Mhz.
In the Spring of 1996 Radio North Angus (RNA) acquired licenses for both the Arbroath and Stracathro Radio Stations – on 87.7 FM, with an output power of 50 milliwatts. They were the second British and first Scottish Hospital Broadcasting Services to use freely radiating radio transmissions.
In early 1997 Radio Tyneside was invited by the Radio Authority to run an experiment of broadcasting hospital radio to the patients and staff via an AM transmitter. The trial started in November 1997 and proved a success.
In February 1998 the Radio Academy invited hospital and student radio stations to apply for restricted AM licences allowing broadcasts to a hospital site. Radio Tyneside applied and was awarded a five year transmission licence on the 27 October 1998 and started broadcasting on 1575AM on 4 November 1998.
In 1998 Radio North Angus lodged an application for a licence with the Radio Authority, with the proposal to establish Britain’s first health care radio. There followed a competitive contracting process, resulting in RNA being awarded an Independent Local Radio licence and transmissions commenced in November 1998.
RNA commenced transmissions on 28 November 1998 from Arbroath Infirmary on 96.6FM with a power output of 25 watts. In late 1999, the Radio Authority gave approval to an increase in output power, and on 8 February 2000, the level was increased to 200 watts, facilitating transmissions being receivable over a wide area of the County.
A report circa 2006 stated “Over 50 of the current long-term radio restricted service licences (RSLs) are held by hospital radio stations, 27 broadcasting on a freely-radiating AM frequency, 11 broadcasting on a freely-radiating FM frequency and 14 using an AM induction loop. A number of hospital broadcasting stations also utilise short-term RSLs at various times as a means to promote their activities within the local community”.
(1996 – First on FM)
|5||Basildon||Basildon Hospital Radio/
|8||Bury St Edmunds||Radio West Suffolk
(AM till mid 2015)
|13||Doncaster||Trust Am (see
|14||Great Yarmouth||Hospital Radio
|16||Haywards Heath||Mid Downs
|17||Hemel Hemstead||Hemel Hospital
Radio (see Watford)_
|21||Luton||Luton & Dunstable
(1998 – First on AM)
|29||Rotherham||Radio Nightingale||945AM & 1350AM|
|31||Shoreham by Sea||Seaside Hospital
AM service ended 2015
|33||Taunton||Apple FM. Musgrove
|34||Worksop||Trust Am (see
|35||Watford||The Pulse Hospital
Radio Watford. See
|1||Brechin||Radio North Angus||87.7|
|6||Arbroath||Radio North Angus||87.7/
|7||Stracathro||Radio North Angus||87.7|
|1||Abergavenny||Nevill Hall Sound||1287|
|3||Cardiff||Rookwood Sound (Rookwood Hospital)||945|
|5||Glan Clwyd||Radio Ysbty||1287|