1.1 Darlington Hospital Radio (1984)
Darlington Hospital Radio (Radio Skerne) started broadcasting to the Memorial Hospital in 1984.
In 2016 the service was broadcasting to the Darlington Memorial Hospital.
2.1 Valley Park Radio (1973)
Valley Park Radio started broadcasting to the Darent Valley Hospital in 1973.
In 2016 the service was broadcasting to the Darent Valley Hospital.
See Part 2. Derby (1952) for the early history of the sports commentary service.
3.1 Radio Link – Derby Hospital Broadcasting (1974)
The Derby Hospital Broadcasting service started broadcasting to the Royal Derby Hospital in 1974.
In 2016: “Radio Link is now off-air, due to accommodation changes at the Royal Derby Hospital”
4.1 Devizes Hospital Broadcasting Service (1972)
The Devizes Hospital Broadcasting Service started broadcasting to the Devizes Hospital in 1972.
In April 2011 the Gazette & Herald newspaper reported: “Following the closure of inpatient beds at Devizes Hospital the station now broadcasts to four sheltered housing schemes in the town with more expressing an interest”.
“After almost 18 months of fund-raising the charity has transformed a portable building in the grounds of Devizes School into two studios. Devizes Mayor Pete Smith officially opened the studios on Saturday.
The station was forced to quit its base in Northgate Gardens, run by Sarsen Housing Association, towards the end of 2009.
The move to Devizes School campus has resulted in a unique collaboration as the station has allocated one of the studios to pupils who wish to gain radio and recording experience.
Alan Truscott, vice-chairman of Devizes Hospital and Community Radio, said: “The school has a radio club and the students record interviews and drama and they are looking to do more interviews with the public regarding living history. “It makes it a bit more exciting for the young adults to record in a studio and it’s wonderful to see their enthusiasm. They are a wonderful group, striving to do something for the whole school.”
At the official opening the mayor said: “It’s a very important project. Community radio is so important. Everybody has had to work very, very hard to raise money to get where they are now. I would urge people to come along and support it.”
See Part 2. Dewsbury (1952) for the early history of the sports commentary service.
5.1 Heavy Wollen District Hospital Broadcasts (1956)
See Part 3 – Batley for the history of the Heavy Wollen District Hospital Broadcasts service up to 1988.
“Regular records requests began in the late 1950s and we later moved to Batley General Hospital, taking up residence in the attic and also broadcasting to Dewsbury General, Staincliffe Hospital and five care homes”.
In 1988 the Batley Hospital closed and the Association moved again. A two room studio complex was built in the new Dewsbury and District General Hospital with over £15,000 being spent converting the rooms that had been provided and purchasing new equipment.
The new studio complex was opened by Margaret Thatcher in 1989.
“By this time the Association consisted of 35 active members and was broadcasting 40 hours per week. Programmes were being received at the Dewsbury District Hospital (a large new complex that includes the old Staincliffe and Maternity Hospitals), Woodwell House, Lydgate House, The Grange, Chickenly, Highfield House and Highfield Home For The Blind”.
“Over the years, our studio complex has been extended and refurbished to include the latest digital technology and we now broadcast 24 hours a day to Dewsbury and District Hospital”.
In 2016 HWD Hospital Radio, the working name for Heavy Woollen District Hospitals Broadcasts Association, was broadcasting to the Dewsbury and District Hospital,.
6.1 Radio Danum (1980)
NAHBO’s 1974 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations listed a sports commentary service called ‘Radio Danym (Doncaster YMCA)’. The start date for the sports service was given as 1956. The service had 2 members and was located at the YMCA, Wood Street. The named contact was C K Young, Doncaster. Sports service: Chesterfield Rugby.
Jack Bright of Radio Danum wrote in 1990: “Radio Danum started with a man called Ben Casey whilst with the RAF at Finningley. Initially the service seems to have been mainly tapes transmitted by landline from the YMCA. A portakabin studio was acquired on the (Doncaster Royal Infirmary) hospital site and equipped with a link to the Rediffusion system’s receivers and transmitter to allow us to interrupt the Radio 2 service for our local service.
Radio Danum started in broadcasting in November 1980. “This studio was formally opened and blessed by the Bishop of Sheffield in June 1981. A landline was supplied to link two other hospitals at Tickhill Road and Loversall”.
“The station had a varied output even back then. In its first year it was attending events like the Finningly Air Show. The station even had their own amateur dramatic productions”.
Reg Sutton, the Director of Broadcasting in 1993 wrote: “We have a wide variety of ages from 18 years to 84 years among our members. We provide a very wide range of programmes incorporating modern music, jazz, classical, and interviews of interest plus items on cookery, gardening, quizzes, even bingo!. Our sports team covers the Doncaster Rovers home games with a phone link to our studios paid by the Thorne & District Round Tablers. We also report on the Doncaster Belles, a ladies soccer team who nationally are winning everything in sight. We also have a good relationship with the management of the ‘Dome Leisure Centre’ which allows us access to Star variety shows, international boxing, basketball, indoor bowls, etc”.
In 1993 ‘Radio Danum’ had 39 members and was broadcasting 38.5 hours per week to patients in the Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
During the latter part of the 1990s the station suffered from a lack of volunteers and funding and became incorporated with Trust AM. See 6.2.
6.2 Trust AM (Late 1990s)
Trust AM took over the responsibility for broadcasting to the Doncaster Royal Infirmary in the late 1990s. See 6.1.
In September 2005 an updated studio was opened.
In 2016: “Trust AM is the operating name of the hospital radio station serving the Doncaster Royal Infirmary on Armthorpe Road in Doncaster, and the Bassetlaw District General Hospital on Blyth Road in Worksop”. See Worksop.
7.1 Dorchester Hospital Broadcasting Society/Radio DCH (1966).
In 1992 Peter Foster wrote: “As one of the founder members of hospital radio in Dorchester, and still serving the cause 26 years later, it gives me great pleasure to outline the history”. Two other founder members were Andy Venton and Andy Worth.
“The idea of a patient’s record request service in Dorchester’s Dorset County Hospital (DCH) was begun in 1966 by a committee comprising mainly of police personnel, to which outsiders joined as time progressed. The initial transmissions were from a small attic studio at the Conservative Club in Dorchester and were fed by landline to DCH and the Herringston Road Annexe, the old isolation hospital. When the latter hospital closed the studio was rehoused in its present location, the School of Nursing, now the Dorset Health Trust Officers, in the grounds of DCH”.
“On 29th September 1966, from a tiny attic in the Dorchester Conservative Club, members of the newly formed Dorchester Hospital Broadcasting Society presented the first record request programme to patients in the old Dorset County Hospital”.
The service was formally opened the following day by the then mayor and Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Colonel Weld and presented by Ken Somerville.
In 1968 the service moved into a studio at the hospital site.
The service changed its name from the Dorchester Hospital Broadcasting Society to ‘Radio DCH’ shortly after West Dorset Hospital Radio came on air in 1989.
See 7.4 Ridgeway Radio
7.2 Radio Herrison (1973)
Radio Herrison was set up in 1973 as a therapeutic aid for psychiatric patients in the Herrison Hospital, involving audience participation in programme making and broadcasting, particularly with record requests. Outside broadcasts were a feature of the station, again involving patients as much as possible.
Andy Worth was Radio Herrison’s Chairman for a long while and its engineering organiser, as well as programme presenter, and a member throughout the station’s existence.
See 7.4 Ridgeway Radio
The service at the Herrison Hospital ceased in 1989.
7.3 West Dorset Hospital Radio (1989)
The service at the West Dorset Hospital was formed in 1989 at the request of the Health Authority and provides a variety of locally based programmes daily. Much of the equipment and the record library were transferred from Radio Herrison with the run-down of Herrison Hospital in 1989.
See 7.4 Ridgeway Radio
7.4 Ridgeway Radio (1997)
Ridgeway Radio is the result of an amalgamation of four former stations; three in Dorchester – Radio DCH, Radio Herrison and the West Dorset Hospital Radio – and Radio Shambles at the old Weymouth and District Hospital.
When Radio Shambles in Weymouth closed in about 1997 it donated its equipment and record library to Ridgeway Radio, “along with many of its members”.
Ridgeway Radio’s is located in a small second floor studio in the West Dorset Hospital.
In 2016 the service reported:“The studio is packed with hi-tech equipment, CD players, record decks, mini-disc systems, computer databases, a huge sound desk….not to mention more than 7,000 records and CDs. From this nerve centre the Ridgeway team broadcast an eclectic mix of programmes, including Sound Choice, Town and Country News, Talking magazine, In The Countryside, Mid-Day Menu, Ridgeway Billboard, Sixties Sounds and North, South, East and West. Outside broadcasts are either live or recorded and include football commentaries, concerts and Dorchester carnival”.
8.1 Gateway Hospital Broadcasting Group (1968)
The “Gateway Hospital Broadcasting Service” started operating in Dover in June 1968.
NAHBO’s 1974 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations stated: GHBS, Bartholomew Street, Dover. 11 members. Serving 3 hospitals. Contact: G L Tutthill. Sport: Dover FC.
By 1977 the service had moved to the Isolation Hospital and was also broadcasting to the Eye Unit and the Royal Victoria Hospital.
The service to the Isolation Hospital and the Eye Unit ceased in 1988.
In 1993 the service had 21 members and was broadcasting about 21 hours per week to the Buckland, Victoria and Memorial hospitals.
9.1 Radio Driffield (1972)
Radio Driffield started broadcasting to the East Riding General Hospital in December 1972.
NAHBO’s 1974 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations has the following entry: Radio Driffield. Driffield East Riding (General Hospital). Contact: Mrs Dorothy Heward. Date formed: Dec. 72.
The hospital closed in 1974.
Mrs Dorothy Heward was listed as the contact for Radio Driffield in NAHBO’s 1977 Directory but a hospital was no longer identified.
10.1 Dudley Hospital Radio (1975)
Dudley Hospital Radio began broadcasting on 25 December 1975. The first show was broadcast from The Guest Hospital.
NAHBO’s 1977 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations states the following: Dudley Hospital Broadcasting Service. Hospital(s) served not listed. Contact: Dave Brownhill.
“In April 1998 it was decided that Wordsley Hospital would close completely and Corbett and Dudley Guest would be downsized to out-patient services only, with Russells Hall being expanded to include all of the borough’s in-patient services. The first phases of the work were completed in 2004 and the expansion was completed during 2005”.
The Dudley Guest Hospital closed in 2007. Broadcasting to the Russells Hospital started is believed to a have started a few years earlier.
See Wordsley for further information.
In 2009, “102.5 The Bridge” joined forces with Dudley Hospital Radio, with the patients able to hear both stations. “However, the service ceased to exist as a standalone operation a few years ago. Instead, the members put their skills to good use and set up Black Country Community Radio, broadcasting online but still maintaining the link to Russells Hall Hospital”.
“As part of the merger between The Bridge and Black Country Community Radio, that hospital radio service has been adopted and now has a specialist show on Wednesday’s from 9pm. It continues to be run by a dedicated team of presenting staff and ward visitors who still visit people within Russells Hall to chat with them and give them some company during the day. This means patients and staff now have access to Black Country Radio, providing a vital community service to those with sickness, infirmity and old age and to those who have to spend time in hospital”.
11.1 Durham Hospital Radio (1963)
Durham Hospital Radio started providing a service to the Old Dryburn Hospital in 1963. “It was simply a record player on a trolley, which was trundled around the wards. Requests were played at the listeners’ bedsides. Requests were played at the listeners’ bedsides”.
The service started broadcasting when a room in the old Porter’s Lodge at the entrance of the old Dryburn Hospital was converted into a studio.
A four hour request programme was transmitted to all wards every Wednesday evening and live commentary of football matches were broadcast every Saturday afternoon.
Later the Lodge was extended to accommodate a second studio as the station continued to grow and new equipment was installed to make productions less labour-intensive.
The service moved to a new studios in the management suite of the new University Hospital of North Durham building shortly after the hospital was opened in 2001 and replaced the Dryburn hospital
“In 2007 we installed a new computer system which allows us to broadcast 24-hours a day and provide information about the numerous services and facilities within the Eastbourne.
12.1 Radio DGH – District General Hospital (1952)
In 1951 the Eastbourne Gramophone Society visited the small Gildredge Hospital once a week to play records to the patients.
By early 1952 the “Friends of Eastbourne Hospitals” established a small studio in the “Lady” office of St Mary’s Hospital. The studio’s equipment, which was connected to the hospital’s radio system that had been installed in 1948, was supplied by a local firm called Leonard Booth. Originally a record request programme was presented to the patients every Wednesday. In 1956 or 1957 the service was extended to the Princess Alice Hospital. The early members included Eric Garrett and Eric Gillis.
By the mid 1970s the service was being presented from a dedicated room next to the phone exchange at the newly completed District General Hospital.
Soon after the District General Hospital opened in 1976 a local disc jockey called Adrian Tongue decided to make contact with the hospital to see if any form of hospital radio existed. At that time Adrian’s fiance Teresa was in the middle of her student nursing course and she put him in touch with Colin Johnson, a hospital maintenance engineer who was involved with the weekly request programme run by the Friends of St Mary’s Hospital (who’s facilities consisted of two Garrard semi-automatic record decks, a basic four channel mixer, one large Share deck microphone, no headphones and a small monitor loudspeaker). Adrian Tongue became Radio DGH’s first Chairman and was still a member of the Radio DGH Committee in 1966.
Adrian Tongue recalled: “Radio DGH was born in the spring of 1976. Myself and a friend, Philip Bull, were introduced to a hospital electrician Colin Johnson, now Colin Schiraldi, who had, for a time been helping The Friends of Eastbourne Hospitals present a weekly, mostly record request programme. This had been in existence since 1951 in the old St Mary’s and Princess Alice Hospitals. So in fact, hospital radio has now been broadcasting in Eastbourne for the last 60 years. By the mid 1970s, they were presenting their show from a dedicated room next to the phone exchange at the newly completed District General Hospital, which incidentally, was not officially opened by Princess Alexandra until 1977”.
Adrian added: “The word was now getting around that a Hospital Radio service was underway and with other friends and applicants from almost nowhere, we had enough people to form our own committee. This would have been around the autumn of 1976. I believe we had already used the name Radio DGH but in committee we took a vote and adopted the name officially”.
The programmes were relayed from the District General Hospital (DGH) via a landline to St Mary’s Hospital in the evening. When Radio DGH started “The Friends” also had a request show on another night for the patients in the District General Hospital.
This was still the situation in 1996, with two “Friends” programmes per week, one playing requests for the patients in the original DGH wards and the other for patients in Phase 2 of the DGH.
Andy Knight, Programme Controller of Radio DGH (District General Hospital, Eastbourne) wrote in November 1995: “When the District General Hospital was opened in 1976 Radio DGH began broadcasting from a small studio on the lower ground floor. In 1980 a new studio was constructed and this was followed in 1982 by a second studio which is also used as the record library. The main studio was re-constructed in 1989. Our biggest supporter still remains the Friends of the Eastbourne Hospitals”.
Andy added: “We now broadcast 50 hours a week and have a team of 25 voluntary presenters who present a variety of programmes which are mainly aimed at the 40 + age group. Radio DGH plays only the best music from the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s plus a variety of specialist music shows featuring classical folk, christian, country, big band and nostalgia. We also play the best of today’s easy listening music and the younger listeners in the children’s ward are not forgotten either because they enjoy a weekly programme especially for them. We like to involve the listeners in the programmes as much as possible and we go around the wards everyday talking to the patients and collecting requests.
Radio DGH is not just a music station because we also include a variety of interviews our programming featuring a mixture of top stars and local people. We also have our own news team who work at the weekends providing news on the hour and at other times we use IRN. We also do outside broadcasts from various events and places in the local area plus we have a landline to the Congress Theatre which allows us to broadcast some of the top shows”.
In 1999 Radio DGH was completely rebuilt; “the old studios were ripped out, with the complex refurbished and new equipment installed to allow Radio DGH to broadcast in full stereophonic audio, to the (then brand new) Patientline units in the hospital”.
“The two studios have Soundtech Series A mixers and CD Players and, as of around 2005, now have the P Squared “Myriad” Playout system, which allows music and news to be broadcast automatically or live, 24/7. Sky News Radio provide the news via satellite and the studios now have an ADSL line, to allow broadband to be used for news gathering and research”.
In 2016 the service was broadcasting twenty four hours a day to over 450 patients in Eastbourne’s District General Hospital.
13.1 RAF Ely Broadcasting Service (Circa 1964)
The exact start date of the broadcasting service that operated at the RAF Hospital in Ely is not known.
In 1987 Tony Browne wrote: “The service was provided by a group of volunteers, both service and civilians, for the benefit of the patients (of which about 60% were civilian). As Officer i/c Patients’ Comfort Fund, I was responsible for its finance and overall administration from 1966 to 1970“. Tony added in 1993: “I believe the service started about 1964“.
On 26th April, 1968, a local newspaper made reference to a start date some time prior to 1966: “The library had taken years to build up, though the service was re-started some two years ago”. The newspaper added: “The Ely Broadcasting Service – a venture run on a volunteer basis by staff at the hospital to give patients 16-18 hours of request music and bingo programmes every week – was destroyed by a fire which swept the studios on Friday morning. Charred records and molten equipment were all that remained of the unit which staff volunteers ran to give patients nightly entertainment in the form of record request programmes. Last year one of the key men in the service, Sgt Roy Bickley, was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services”. The fire destroyed the Nissen hut which housed the service and the library of 4,500 records which had taken years to build up”.
One month later the local newspaper reported: “On behalf of the city of Ely and district, Coun. G R Mason, chairman of the Urban District Council, will hand over more than 3,000 records and nearly £200 in cash to Ely RAF Hospital. The presentation will mark the close of the record appeal for the hospital launched hours after the Ely Broadcasting Service was gutted by fire. EBS will soon be operating once more with an even better selection of discs, and the fire has brought to the surface the close ties there are between the hospital and the people of Ely”. In 1968 there were about 12 members.
It is not known when the service ended.
It is only the second know case of a hospital broadcasting service operating in a RAF hospital. See Part 1. Iwakuni – Japan (1946).
14.1 Radio Forest (1978)
Radio Forest (originally known as ‘Forest Radio’) was established in November 1976. It was the “brainchild of estate agent Heather Thirtle, providing music and entertainment to the patients and staff of the Forest Hospital Buckhurst Hill, Essex”.
Two years later, in 1978 the service was registered as a charity by its first elected Chairman, Stuart McDonald.
In 1980, due to the closure of the Forest Hospital, the studios moved to St. Margaret’s Hospital in Epping. A decade later, in 1990 Radio Forest opened its third on air studio. Also in 1990 “We become the first hospital radio station in the country to broadcast twenty-four hours a day”.
In 1996 Radio Forest was granted a license by the Radio Authority to broadcast on FM for 28 days to the Epping Forest area over the Christmas period.
A move within St. Margaret’s Hospital in 1999 meant the building of a new studio, embracing modern digital technology. “Radio Forest become pioneers once again by developing a digital sustaining service. Giving us the ability to provide a true 24 hour service including local and national news”.
In November 2002 Radio Forest started a second service; “our sister station ‘Classic Hits Forest Gold’ was born”. It broadcasted a non-stop mix of hits form the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The service was called “Classic Hits Forest Gold” and it proved a popular addition to the service being provided to St. Margarets Hospital.
The new hospital addition to St. Margaret’s was completed in 2007 and Radio Forest installed speakers and bedside audio facilities to the four new ward areas, allowing a choice of listening including “Radio Forest FM” and “Classic Hits Forest Gold”. A new studio was also completed allowing for more live programmes on both radio services.
In 2008 Radio Forest expanded its service to the Derwent Centre in Harlow. “Radio Forest FM” was re-named “Forest One”. In the same year the “Classic Hits Forest Gold” service to the Ongar War Memorial Hospital ceased due the closure of the hospital. Also in 2008 “Classic Hits Forest Gold” started broadcasting to the Saffron Walden Community Hospital at Saffron Walden.
Two years later; in 2010, Radio Forest launched its ‘Classic Hits Forest Gold’ service at the Brentwood Community Hospital. This was followed in 2012 by the launch of Forest Gold as an internet radio station.
In “2013 Radio Forest invests in new studio technology from P Squared for both radio stations including Myriad Playout”.
The service reported in 2016 “You can hear our two radio stations, Forest One and Forest Gold at hospitals across Essex, providing entertainment, music, news, sport and information 24/7. From outpatients departments, to long term care wards Radio Forest provides bespoke radio programmes for those in hospital and care.
We are currently on-air at the following – St. Margaret’s Hospital in Epping, The Derwent Centre in Harlow, Brentwood Community Hospital and Saffron Walden Community Hospital”.
15.1 Epsom Hospital Radio (1978)
Epsom District Hospital Radio, as it was originally called, was founded on the 12 August 1977, but it wasn’t until April 1978 that enough funds had been raised to begin broadcasting. “The facilities were very crude, the equipment extremely old fashiotned and basic – but it was a start!”
Was the hospital called before changing its name in 1991 to the Epsom General Hospital? The Epsom District Hospital?
“The studio was assembled in a second-hand garden shed, ten feet by six feet and sited on the roof of the hospital. The equipment used consisted of a microphone, a cassette deck and two turntables that took almost three seconds to get up to a speed of 45rpm.
In November 1982 the service was able to relocate to a second site near the nurses’ home, which was to serve as the home of the studio for nearly 18 years.
“The station suffered a setback in the early 1980’s, when thieves broke into the studio stealing vital broadcasting equipment, in fact they took everything except for the mixing desk, they took several records too”.
After various fund raising events, including “its own ‘Fun Day’ taking over the paddocks of Epsom Race Course on 21st July 1984”, the station was able to purchase new broadcast equipment, which coincided “with another re-location, this time to the studio’s current (2016) site in August 1986”.
When the name of the hospital was changed in 1991 to Epsom General Hospital, the radio station had to change its name in keeping with the hospital community it served and became known as “Epsom Hospital Radio’.
On 26 February 2010, after several months preparation, a new computer system was activated, which would provide programmes and the latest news headlines, even when all the presenters had gone home. For the first time ever, Epsom Hospital Radio had become a 24 hour radio station.
In 2012 Epsom Hospital Radio started making use of its new second studio.
16.1 Radio Erith (1960-1962)
Radio Erith (Erith & District Hospital Broadcasting System) is thought to have started at the Erith Hospital in October, 1960.
This date is in conflict with a start date of January, 1962, that was recorded in NAHBO’s 1974 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations.
In 1974 Radio Erith had 10 members and was broadcasting from a studio in the Erith Hospital & District Hospital, Kent. Only the name of one member, A King, has been established.
17.1 Eversham Hospital Radio (1970)
Evesham Hospital Radio was established in 1970 and broadcasts to the Evesham Community Hospital.
In 2016 the service was still broadcasting to the Evesham Community Hospital.
18.1 Exeter Hospital Radio (1974)
“A meeting was held in August 1974 to see if there was enough support to start a Hospital Radio Station in Exeter. The meeting was chaired by local policeman Terry Roberts who was a member of Plymouth Hospital Radio”.
“The first broadcast from Hospital Radio Exeter was made on the 22nd of December which was transmitted by the use of BT Landlines to the RD&E Hospital’s in Wonford and Heavitree and then we added on the Exeter Eye Infirmary and the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospitals”.
The service was broadcast from a small studio located in the old Wonford Hospital. The original studio complex consisted of one broadcast studio, a very small office, and a library; “all of which covered about only 100 square feet”.
“With the building of the new hospital in the early 90’s, it was clear that H.R.E. would either have to move, or cease to be. Luckily the Hospital Trust agreed to locate us in the new block, so it was business as usual. At the same time all the Hospitals were located to the Wonford site and in April 1994 H.R.E. moved to its current location (2016), boasting two studios, an office, racks room, music library, and a reception area”.
19.1 Folkestone Hospital Broadcasting Service (1972)
In 1972 a nurse asked colleagues why the radio service at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Dover could not also be provided at the site of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone.
“Folkestone carnival organisers donated most of their 1971 charity collection to buy the equipment and after generous donations of old 33s, 45s and 78s, the station went live to the Folkestone wards”.
NAHBO’s 1974 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations stated: Radio Victoria (Folkstone Hospital Broadcasting Service).Wakefield Hall, Royal Victoris Hospital. 24 members. Serving 1 hospital. Contact: Anthony P Pettitt.
On 5 December 1975 the organisation was registered as a charity.
A report dated 25 April 2002 read: “Hospital radio to celebrate 30th birthday. RADIO Victoria at Folkestone is celebrating its 30th birthday next week and to mark the occasion wants to reunite presenters to reminisce about its success.
The Folkestone Hospital Broadcasting Service is planning a special programme at 7pm on Friday, May 3, called Voices from the Past which it is hoped former presenters will help to produce and present”.
20.1 Radio Frimley Park (1976)
A service, originally known as Frimley Park Broadcasting Service started broadcasting in 1976 at the Frimley Park Hospital. It was “The brainchild of Gordon Cox”.
“With funds provided by the hospital’s League of Friends, following test broadcasts on a couple of evenings a week, the fledgling service launched on 1st October 1976. Over the years, the studio equipment has been replaced and refined, and the broadcasting hours were extended to every evening with longer hours during weekends”.
“Since the early days, Radio Frimley Park has been a feature in the community with its “outside broadcasts”, helping to raise funds for the station and awareness of its activities outside the hospital. As the bookings built up, it was decided that Radio Frimley Park should be more mobile, so in the late 1980’s the first outside broadcast vehicle was acquired. Since then the station has had various former ambulances which have been converted into mobile studios. These have been used to provide public address facilities at many outdoor events and generate revenue for the station’s core activities”.
The station hit a low when, in 1990, the studio was stripped of almost all broadcasting equipment. Although the thieves were caught and convicted and most of the equipment recovered, it had been damaged beyond repair. Following a concerted fundraising effort and with support from the local community in September 1990 Radio Frimley Park was back on the air.
In 2016 the service was broadcasting to the Frimley Park Hospital.
21.1 Hospital Radio Medway (1971)
“Back in 1970, a local man, Brian Faulkner, began collecting requests in Medway Hospital to produce a weekly request programme from the make-shift studio in his garden shed.
Since then, Hospital Radio Medway’s service has grown and we have produced thousands of hours of programmes from our studios in the basement of the hospital”
Hospital Radio Medway, a subsidiary of Medway League of Friends, started broadcasting in 1971 to the Medway Maritime Hospital.
In 2016 the service was broadcasting to the Medway Maritime Hospital.
22.1 Goodmayes Hospital Radio (1975)
Jumbo Sound, the working name for Goodmayes Hospital Radio started broadcasting at the Goodmayes Hospital in 1975.
It also provided a service to King George Hospital until the hospital’s closure in 1993.
A newspaper report of 16 November 2015 read: “A radio studio “looked like a sauna” after a water pipe burst causing an estimated £30,000 worth of damage to broadcasting equipment”.
Goodmayes Hospital Radio Association (Charity No. 287259) ceased operating effective 1 April 2016.
“But all is not lost…We have partnered with Bedrock Radio at Queens Hospital in Romford who are going to continue to provide a service not only to their own hospitals, but also to Goodmayes Hospital. So, we thank you for your support over the past 40 years, and hope you will join us for many more at bedrockradio.org.uk
The exact start date of the first hospital broadcast in Goole is not known. TOC H reported in April 1966: “When the Goole Branch Recording Unit was formed with the object of presenting weekly Record Request Programmes for the benefit of hospital patients, none of its members was able to foresee the many other jobs of the service which this project would make possible, such as Haggis on tape, for example!”.
23.1 Radio Medica – Goole HBS (1974)
NAHBO’s 1974 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations records: Goole Hospitals Internal Broadcasting Service, formed in January 1973. Studio address:St John’s Hospital. Contact C Poulton. 18 members. Number of hospitals served: 3. No sports service.
The other two hospitals that received the service were the Goole Maternity Home and Bartholomew Hospital. Both were disconnected from the service in 1988.
On 22 July 1974, 18 months after the service was formed, it started broadcasting.
Later that year ‘Radio Medica’ was added in front of ‘Goole Hospitals Internal Broadcasting Service’. Chris Poulton and John Fallon are thought to have been two of the founder members. By 1988 the service had moved to the new Goole & District Hospital.
In 1993 ‘Radio Medica’ had 20 members and was broadcasting 24 hours per week to the Goole & District Hospital. The longest serving members were Bert Thorpe (15 years) and Aileen & Kenneth Shires (11 years).
In 2015 Radio Medica, the working name for Radio Medica Goole Hospitals Internal Broadcasting Service, was broadcasting to the Goole & District Hospital.
24.1 Radio Haslar Hospital Broadcasting (1991)
In 2016: “Radio Haslar broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, to the patients and staff of the Gosport War Memorial Hospital on channels 1 & 2, the out-patients area and on-line”.
25.1 Radio Witham – Studio Based Service in (1985)
Radio Witham was formed in 1977 as a means of relaying the Sunday service from the hospital chapel to all the patients in the Grantham Hospital.
“This continued to be a mainstay of the station’s programming until the late 1990s, when the chapel ceased to hold weekly services. However, Radio Witham continued to broadcast recordings of local church services until 2011”.
The station moved into its portacabin studios, located between the chapel and kitchens, in 1985. The portacabin was fitted out with two studios, and a fairly large record library.
During the 1990s the station had grown to over 30 members, broadcasting 55 hours of live programmes each week, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Programmes included several request shows, and a weekly patient interview programme. There was also a special show for the children’s ward.
“After the beginning of 2000 the station decided that it was time to re-fit the larger studio with new equipment to bring it up to current standards. Up until then, we were still using broadcast cartridges to play jingles, although we’d largely retired our reels of quarter inch tape (editing with a razor blade and sticky tape) in favour of digital MiniDiscs. So we dismantled the studio, and started what turned out to be a mammoth rebuild. In the meantime, we were reduced to broadcasting from just one studio, leaving us without a second production studio”.
“Several years later, after a lot of fund raising, we had a new studio with state of the art equipment. We recruited new presenters, and started to broadcast our own computer generated programming 24 hours a day”.
In early 2013 the service moved to a room in the main hospital building. “Gradually, we moved out of the partacabin. In November 2013 our connection to Hospedia, who provide the bedside radios for patients, was moved to our new facility. We temporarily connected the old studio to the new studio while engineering work continued. The last live programme from the old studio was broadcast on the evening of Wednesday 18th December 2013. The following weekend, the old studio was dismantled, and a week of intensive moving followed. Live programmes started again, from our new studio, on 1st January 2014, even though all the engineering work wasn’t complete”.
The new studio was formally opened by the Mayor of Grantham, Cllr Ian Selby, on Saturday 19 April 2014.
In 1926 wireless sets were installed in the Gravesend Hospital and were available to every bed in the Male and Female wards
26.1 Radio North Kent (1973)
Radio North Kent started broadcasting to the Gravesend Hospital in 1973. “In October 1973, a very small group of dedicated volunteers with no experience, no real equipment, very little money, but with an abundance of enthusiasm, founded the station with the active encouragement of the League of Friends”.
“The hospital management willingly co-operated by providing a very small room in the basement of the medical block (now the M Block)”.
“From the small and claustrophobic room in the basement, after several years of unremitting hard work raising funds, we were eventually able to return the accommodation to the hospital authorities and take up residence in a very much larger studio overlooking the car park”.
In 2016 the service was broadcasting from the new Gravesham Community Hospital which opened in 2006.
- Great Yarmouth
27.1 Hospital Radio Yare (1977)
Hospital Radio Yare began broadcasting in 1977 to the Northgate Hospital, the Great.Yarmouth General Hospital and the Gorleston Cottage Hospitals “over a telephone line connection and sub-directed to the patient’s bedside receivers”..
It was set up by a handful of dedicated members with their own record collections and a redundant quadrant fader audio mixer donated by Anglia television.
The first studio.was in a redundant portacabin that had been donated by Decca Survey of Gt. Yarmouth; which was “crane lifted over the wall of the Northgate Hospital”.
“Once established, the duly named Hospital Radio Yare continued to gain members and equipment until the late nineties”.
“At that time the Radio Authority then announced plans to offer Freely Radiating AM (otherwise known as Medium Waveband) transmission licences to non-commercial establishments such as hospitals. Radio Yare took up the offer and begin broadcasting on 1350 kHz in the medium waveband in January 2000”.
The studio in the grounds of the Northgate Hospital still had to transmit an FM signal to the James Paget as a link – where it is converted to AM waveband and transmitted from the aerial situated in the grounds of the James Paget University Hospital.
In October 2001 the FM link was boosted to bring the Lowestoft Hospital within the group of hospitals and provide them with their own patients request show.
In 2002 the studio was refurbished. The whole building was rewired and a new mixer desk plus a computer with a hard drive full of digitised music to broadcast at the touch of a button were installed. “In April of that year the MP for Great Yarmouth declared the new studio open with a live on air interview”.
In April 2012 the studio was relocated to a new cabin, installed with its utilities, in the grounds of the James Paget University Hospital.
See Part 2. Grimsby (1953) for the early history of the sports commentary service.
28.1 Hospital Welfare Society/Grimsby Hospital Radio (1951)
In January 1951 a record request programme started in Grimsby’s Springfield Hospital. The programme, which was to run for 30 years, was called ‘Juke Box Saturday Night’ and was presented by Frank Smith, an ex British Forces Network worker.
TOC H’s magazine reported in March 1960: “Scartho reached their 470th programme in their ‘Juke Box Saturday Night’, a programme of request gramophone records for patients of Springfield T.B Hospital”.
Ken Townsend of Grimsby Hospital Radio wrote: “In January 1956 a record request programme was started at the Scartho Road Hospital. It was broadcast every Thursday, presented by Frank Foxcroft and ran for 25 years. The programme was recorded on reel tape and played again on Saturday evening to the Grimsby and District Hospital. This was the case until 1968 when I took over the request programme for the Grimsby and District Hospital only, leaving Frank Foxcroft to concentrate solely on the Scartho Road Hospital. In 1977 I was joined by Brian Leonard”.
The annual financial statement of the Grimsby Hospitals Welfare Society for 1956 recorded an expenditure of £88.13.0 for the purchase of the tape recording machine.
NAHBO’s 1974 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations recorded: “Grimsby Hospitals Welfare Association. Contact: J Alex Skinner. Football commentary service: Grimsby Town Fe. 40 members. Four hospitals”
The four hospitals listed were in fact three hospitals and an annex: (1) The old Grimsby and District General Hospital, Yarborough Street, (2) Scartho Road, originally ‘The Infirmary’, (3) Springfield Road, the TB and isolation hospital, about a mile from the Scartho Road site and (4) the annex, which was mid-way between the two latter sites, with its own wards and nursing staff.
Ken added: “In 1983 the new hospital was completed on the adjoining plot of the Scartho Road Hospital. Springfield Road (TB and Isolation Hospital) site had, two years previously, ceased broadcasting record request programmes but still carried the football broadcast, until it closed in 1984. In March 1983 the old Grimsby and District Hospital closed, which meant that I had to move to the new hospital. I had wanted to run a joint programme with Frank Foxcroft, but he said that after 25 years he wanted to retire. Therefore Brian Leonard and I commenced twice weekly broadcasts live to both parts of the hospital (the new part and the old Scartho Road).
Gradually, with the introduction of more presenters, broadcasts were increased to every night of the week excluding Saturdays, the programmes being broadcast live from 7.OOpm until 1O.00pm”.
Brian Leonard wrote in 1992: “Football and record request programmes at the old Grimsby and District General Hospital were provided by the Grimsby Hospital Welfare Society (similar to a ‘League of Friends’ and still very active). The Grimsby Hospital Welfare Association was the organisation which collected contributions from people and then paid them benefits when they were in hospital. The society concerns itself with fund raising, for equipment mainly.
After the new hospital was opened in 1983, Ken Townsend and I decided that we should be ‘Grimsby Hospital Broadcasting Organisation’, an accurate description of our function. However, when I became manager in January 1989, I opted for the easier “Grimsby Hospital Radio'”.
In 1991 ‘Grimsby Hospital Radio’ was relaying its programmes to the Grimsby and District Hospital.
In 1997, in honour of Princess Diana, who had opened the Grimsby and District Hospital on 26 July 1983, the hospital changed its name to: Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital.
In 2017 Grimsby Hospital Radio was broadcasting to the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital and was one of the longest running hospital broadcasting services in the world.
29.1 Radio Lion (1969)
In 1969 Radio Lions started broadcasting to the Royal Surrey County Hospital
An announcement issued in March 2014 read “Earlier this month, the hospital announced it was to end airing Radio Lion, which broadcasts 24 hours a day, on March 31 following more than 45 years of service”.
Following a meeting held after the announcement with representatives of the hospital, Radio Lion, and the Guildford Lions Club, who support the station, this was extended to April 21, in which time alternative ways could be explored to allow the show to go on.
“In order to continue producing live shows, Radio Lion needs a new home and quickly,” said Paul Meager, press and PR officer for from Radio Lion. “In the interim pre-recorded material may be broadcast over the hospital’s entertainment system provided they can find a suitable location for the computers with a suitable connection”.
30.1 Hospital Radio Harefield (About 1962)
NAHBO’s 1977 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations recorded: “Hospital Radio Harefield. Harefield Hospital. Contact: Derek Thompson.
“Harefield FM has been broadcasting to the patients, staff and visitors of the hospital since 1962”. Note: Not initially on FM.
“With investment from both the trust and many other charities, we were able to purchase both new equipment and also move to a new purpose built location in the hospital grounds (studio 2)”
In 2016 Harefield FM, the working name for Hospital Radio Harefield, was broadcasting to the Harefield Hospital.
See Part 2. Halifax (1957) for the early history of the sports commentary service.
31.1 Calderdale Hospital Broadcasting Association (1981)
Radio Calderdale, the working name for the Calderdale Hospital Broadcasting Association, was founded in 1981 by Trevor Simpson. It provided a service to the Halifax General, the Royal Halifax Infirmary and Northowram hospitals.
In 2016 the service reported: “Thanks to a link with the Shay Stadium in Halifax, we are able to broadcast all football and rugby matches live to patients’ bedsides. Very popular with sport fans”.
“We also have an agreement with the Victoria Theatre which allows us to broadcast many shows and concerts. We sometimes have the opportunity to interview cast members and artists too. We have a link with the hospital chapel and broadcast the Sunday service each week, Easter and Christmas services and any special events held in the chapel.
We have held a few concerts and broadcast them live to the patients. Members of the Halifax Choral Society come in at Christmas and sing carols for patients and visitors. They sing in the chapel, which is broadcast live to patients and then in the main entrance which has fantastic acoustics!”
In 2016 the service was being broadcast to the Calderdale Royal Hospital.
32.1 Harlow Hospital Radio (1970)
Harlow Hospital Radio started broadcasting to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in 1970.
“In 2010, the station celebrated its 40th anniversary and held several special events. The studio and office was also refurbished. It was further improved in 2014 in order to make it more accessible to disabled people”
“Harlow Hospital Radio unveil studio’s upgrade”. Harlow Star. 3 September 2014
33.1 Harrogate Hospital Radio Society (1977)
Harrogate Hospital Radio, the working name for Harrogate Hospital Radio Society, was established in 1977 and broadcasts to the Harrogate District Hospital,
“We work closely with Hospital management and staff and the wider community in Harrogate to broadcast other programmes of direct interest to patients. These include weekly Sunday Services by the Chaplaincy Team and the local Talking Newspaper”.
In 2016 Harrogate Hospital Radio was broadcasting to the Harrogate District Hospital.
34.1 Hospital Radio Hastings (1975)
The service in Hastings started in 1975. Initially four enthusiasts recorded programmes at home and then broadcast them using a tape player that was installed in a cupboard at The Royal East Sussex Hospital. At about the same time a similar operation began at St Helens Hospital.
“In 1976 the two groups merged and established a studio at St Helens Hospital and The Hastings and Rother Hospital Broadcasting Service was born. Soon landlines were in use taking the station to the Bexhill, Buchanan, Royal East Sussex and Eversfield Hospitals.
By 1984 a suite of two studios, a music library and an office were in use at St Helens Hospital”.
In 2016 the service reported: “So we have gone from a tape player in a cupboard to a modern day fully computerised radio studio in The Conquest Hospital on The Ridge where we moved to when the hospital opened in July 1992”.
In 2016 Hospital Radio Hastings was broadcasting to the Conquest Hospital.
- Haywards Heath
35.1 Mid-Downs Radio (1976)
Mid-Downs Radio started broadcasting at the Cuckfield Hospital in 1976.
Mid-Downs Radio, celebrating over 40 years of hospital broadcasting wrote: “From small beginnings in a broom cupboard at Cuckfield Hospital, (with a converted caravan for events), to a much larger storage room turned into two Radio Studios at the Princess Royal, (and a beautifully decorated and professional events unit). That sums up where history has taken us over the years”.
In 2016 the service reported: “We now have really up to date equipment in both the studios, (new Myriad computer system), and the Outside Events Unit, (new PA and mic system)”.
“We’re also on your radio, broadcasting on 1350 AM. We’re also available on the Internet either by using the Listen Live facility on this website or on the Tune-In Radio app on your smartphone or tablet”.
See Part 3 – M to R. 20. Oxford
- Hemel Hempstead
37.1 Hemel Hospital Radio (1974)
Hemel Hospital Radio started broadcasting from a studio in the General Hospital in 1974.
On 2 February 2001 the service stated broadcasting on 1350 AM.
A newspaper report of 18 February 2015 read: “A hospital radio service has plans to take over the airwaves of West Herts now that it has joined forces with neighbouring stations. The service has recently merged with Watford Hospital Radio to become the only hospital radio station in Herts.
Hemel Hospital Radio was first formed in 1974, and broadcasts over 1350am to the patients of Hemel Hempstead’s General Hospital. But the charity is now raising funds to have speakers installed into the waiting areas of the hospital, to provide light entertainment and information while patients wait for appointments or visits to the urgent care centre.
The station is raring to go after membership sadly dwindled over recent years – but it is now looking at providing the patients of all West Hertfordshire hospitals with its entertaining and informative broadcasting service.
Hemel Hospital Radio is managed by the registered charity Watford Hospitals Broadcasting Service, which also operates Watford Hospital Radio. It is governed by the Charities Commission and supported by the West Herts Hospitals Trust. The charity’s management committee took over the running in October (2014), and it is entirely staffed by volunteers”.
On 20 March 2016 the Watford and Hemel Hempstead hospital radio stations merged under a new name: Pulse Hospital Radio.
See Watford for further information
See Part 2. Hereford (About 1964) for the early history of the sports commentary service.
38.1 Hereford Hospital Radio Service (1972)
Hereford Hospital Radio first began broadcasting in 1972, when Roy Romerill of the Hereford Youth Services had the idea of providing an entertainment service to the patients, staff and visitors of the three hospitals in Hereford”.
The first programmes broadcast on Hereford Hospital Radio were pre-recorded by the students of Hereford Sixth Form College, and they were played during Sunday evenings. When these students moved on, the station underwent temporary closure, and the Hereford Lions Club concentrated their efforts on re-building the service.
A former hospital building was refurbished to provide a studio complex at the Hereford County Hospital, and Hereford Hospital Radio was re-launched with programmes being broadcast every day of the week, producing some 36 hours of live entertainment.
During the late 1970s the range of programmes increased and so did the audience, with hospitals in both Ledbury and Leominster connecting alongside a number of care homes for the elderly within the city of Hereford.
Due to financial constraints in the 1980s the hospitals in Ledbury and Leominster were disconnected, and soon Hereford Hospital Radio was only broadcasting to the hospitals in Hereford.
Throughout the 1990s the station went from strength to strength, winning a HBA (Hospital Broadcasting Award) and its output and members increased. The service did regular outside broadcasts around the county, from coverage of Hereford United’s home football matches via makeshift studio at the ground, to broadcasting special events marking services for Remembrance Day in the city.
At one point in the early 2000s, programmes took place every evening from 6pm to 10pm and throughout the weekend from 9am to 10pm, including sports programmes, streaming the Hospital Church Service in the hospital and even outside broadcasts of concerts at the Hereford Leisure Centre.
The County Hospital, the General Hospital and the Victoria Eye Hospital merged together and were all under one roof at a much expanded base at a new building in the County Hospital.
In 2002, due to refurbishment of the block in the hospital where the studio was located, the service had to cease broadcasting. Finally, after a break of three years, Hereford Hospital Radio restarted broadcasting Hereford Hospital Radio. “Our newly refurbished studios, however, were a great improvement to previous times”.
In 2016 the service reported. ”Now with two new studios, more members, and a computer system enabling us to be on air 24 hours a day, which keeps the station in action when no presenters are present, things are brighter than ever!”
39.1 East Herts Hospital Radio (1973)
In June 1973 Radio Hertford started broadcasting to the County Hospital.
NAHBO’s 1974 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations recorded: “Radio Hertford. Contact: Graham Jones. County Hospital. 25 members. Two hospitals”.
“East Herts Hospital Radio started as Radio Hertford in 1973, broadcasting to patients in County Hospital, Hertford and the (original) QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City from 1977”.
East Herts Hospital Radio ceased broadcasting on 27 June 2011.
“The various local NHS bodies are in the process of closing the QE2 to inpatients and transferring services to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage. On the QE2 site there is planned to be a Local General Hospital which will have limited inpatient beds. Due to this site redevelopment we have had to leave the building in which our studio was based. As there will be a very low number of inpatients it will not be viable to operate a hospital radio station at the QE2”.
40.1 “Radio Service Heswall” (1955)
At the Cleaver hospital, Heswall in Wirral, Monty Lister presented a two hour request programme (including interviews with top show-biz folk) every fortnight from 15 July 1955 until the hospital closed in 1980.
The programme, “Music with Monty”, came as a direct result of pressure from patients in Cleaver (which was then a Sanatorium) who knew that Monty was involved with a hospital broadcasting service at Clatterbridge.
Monty commented: “They felt, as long stay patients, they deserved a request show more than those in a general hospital”.
- High Wycombe
41.1 Wycombe Hospital Broadcasting Association (1967)
The idea for a hospital broadcasting service at High Wycombe originated at the Annual General Meeting of the High Wycombe Film Society which took place in January 1967. Six members proposed that they start a music service for the newly built High Wycombe General Hospital, a hospital that already had a radio system wired to every patent’s bed. The week before the broadcast date a request box was placed inside the hospital and by the time
‘Wycombe Radio’ began broadcasting on 16 October 1967. No less than 22 requests had been collected”.
Roger Perry of the Wycombe Hospitals Broadcasting Association wrote in 1993: “The first programme to be broadcast was ‘Monday at 8’. In the initial stages it was a one hour programme once a week that featured patient requests. Our studio was built inside the hospital, in a disused broom cupboard. Founder members were: Chris Philips, Chris Payne (engineering), Brenda Field, Marylin Hughes, Geoff Authers and Mike Nichols. They were joined in the early days by Dave Rimal, Ray Wingrove, Gerry Grace, Ted Harvey and Laurie Stevens to name a few”.
Two years after the start it was decided to expand the service and a land line was connected to the General Hospital in Amersham (located seven miles away).
In 1978 the service decided to build a separate studio at the Amersham hospital to enable people living in Amersham to get more involved as well as providing an on-the-spot request show location. A report at the time stated: “The major problem that is experienced is the duplication of a record collection that has to be updated each week, at vast expense”.
From the Wycombe studio landlines were connected over the years to cover events around the area; concerts from the Wycombe Town Hall, which was fitted with a fully equipped broadcast and recording studio, High Wycombe Parish Church, Wycombe Wanderers Football Ground and, installed in 1984, the Wycombe Show site.
An article written by Mike Homfray for the station’s 1985 magazine read: “As one of Wycombe Radio’s longest serving members – almost eight years – I’ve seen a lot of changes at the station, particularly technical improvements such as the construction of the Amersham studio and the purchase of our blue OB caravan which can be seen at all sorts of events, from the Wycombe Show to selling refreshments at a Chesham strawberry farm!”.
In 1990 the service was broadcasting 46 hours each week, all year round, to the Amewrsham and Wycombe General Hospitals. Programming included ‘Radio Bingo’ and ‘Treasurer Hunt’.
Roger Perry commented in 1993:”One interesting fact is the number of weddings that have occurred between members of the association. They include: Chris Philips/Marylin Hughs, Gerry Grace/Sue Fergerson, Steve Dickerson/Jan Bowerman, Paul Rutland/Sue Home (due Sept 93), Dave Rimal/Brenda Field, Andrew Dodd/Lisa Palmer, Gary Palmer/Sue Rolf, Rob L’Esperance/Karen Nobel and myself/Sara Palmer. All the Palmers are from one family”
January 2016: Wycombe Hospital Broadcasting Association was listed as a charity (254676) and was broadcasting from the “Radio Room” at the Wycombe Hospital.
42.1 Castle Mead Radio, Hinckley Hospital Radio Service (1990)
Castle Mead Radio, the working name for Castle Mead Radio, Hinckley Hospital Radio Service, was established in 1990 and broadcasts to Hinckley & District Community Hospital
In 2016 Castle Mead Radio was broadcasting to the Hinckley & District Community Hospital.
See Part 2. Huddersfield (1953) for the early history of the sports commentary service.
43.1 Huddersfield Hospitals Broadcasting Association (1957)
The Huddersfield Hospitals Broadcasting Association’s first broadcast from a studio took place in 1957.
The Secretary’s report in the minutes of the 4th Annual General Meeting of the Huddersfield Hospitals Broadcasts Association, held on 27 March 1957, read:
“The Secretary reported further extension to the Association’s network at Moor View Hospital, Meltham and Thorpe Grange Welfare Home, Almondbury and a Broadcasting Studio for the Association at 24 Queen Street, Huddersfield. This made a total of four broadcasting points and fourteen receiving centres. He stated that the Association had recently received an enquiry from the Welfare Department to extend the broadcasts to their new Home for men and women at Keldergate, Bradley”.
“It was reported that the commentaries on Association and Rugby League Football from Leeds Road and Fartown, on local League Cricket from Fartown and on County Cricket from Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield, had continued to be the main features of the Association’s broadcasting.
Local interest broadcasts during the year had included two concerts given by the Colne Valley Male Voice Choir, a Concert arranged by the Huddersfield Society for the Blind, a specially arranged concert version of ‘Oklahoma’ given by the Huddersfield Amateur Operatic Society and a relay from New North Road Methodist Church of a service for the Woman’s World Day of Prayer”.
John Roberts, the Secretary, went on to report: “The Association had been considering a Hospital Record Request Programme and now with a studio available and the necessary permission granted, the project would go ahead. Interested members of the Huddersfield Lions Club had come forward to organise the requests for this programme and had also promised to help monitor the broadcasting service as a whole”. The minutes also recorded that the following members of TOC H were re-elected: Mr A Wainwright, Chairman, Mr J Roberts, Secretary and Mr W T Kennedy, Treasurer.
The Programme Guide for 1962-63 lists: “Record Request Programme – E Taylor (Lion Club). A weekly programme of record and special requests is broadcast every Monday at 7pm arranged by members of the Huddersfield Lions Club. The records for this programme are kindly loaned to us by Messrs Wood, New Street, Huddersfield”.
The first studio in Queen Street was provided free of charge by George Booth of TOC H, though eventually, in 1979, the service moved to a studio in Acre Street, Lindley, in property owned by the Area Health Authority. After a comparatively short stay it was decided that the building was unsafe and the service moved again, into a brand new purpose built studio in The Gables at Edgerton. A year later, in 1980, the name of the service was changed from ‘Huddersfield Hospital Broadcasts Association’ to ‘2HR’ (2 Hospital Radio)
By 1986 the number of hospitals covered by the service had reduced from 14 in 1958 to three: the Royal Infirmary, St Luke’s and the Holly Residential Home.
Clifford Brook, an ex-Chairman who joined the Huddersfield sports commentary service in 1953, reported in 1990: “The surge in the cost of the GPO lines was the main cause of the cut off of the lines to the homes, also the advent of TV and lack of a special radio room. The Hollies, a home mainly for the blind was kept on”.
In 2016 Huddersfield Hospital Radio was broadcasting to the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
See Part 2. Hull (1952) for the early history of the sports commentary service.
44.1 Hospital Broadcasting Service – Kingston Radio (1961)
Towards the end of the 50’s a young man by the name of Ken Fulstow bought himself a tape recorder and he hit on the idea of using it to record messages and music for people in hospital. In 1959 the Hull Recorder Club was formed, eventually finding rooms above an electrical shop on Hassle Road, which the group made into a studio.
Then Ken approached the hospital administrators, the telephone department and Sports Commentators Association, who were relaying football commentaries from Boothferry Park the home of Hull City FC, to see if the Tape Recorder Club could use the land lines to broadcast these recorded messages. After a three month trial it was deemed a success and the group began broadcasting.
The first record ever broadcast being ‘Temptation’ by the Everly Brothers on 16 July 1961.
The station’s Silver Jubilee magazine of 1986 had the following entry: “In 1969, the ‘Hull and East Riding Hospital Broadcasting Service’ was formed and registered as a charity. The organisation took over the facilities of the Tape Recorder Club, and in March 1975 we moved to our present studios on Beverley Road”. These two dates are in conflict with an entry in NAHBO’s 1974 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations, which read: “Hospital Broadcasting Services (Hull & East Riding). Contact: Ken Fulstow. Studio location: 98 Beverley Road. 14 members. Number of hospitals: 5. Date formed: July 1971“.
An article dated February, 1972 describes the then studios of the service: “Situated on the top floor of an old building in the heart of Hull’s dockland, it is approached by an old door, heavy with rusty hinges. Once in, the visitor climbs four flights of stairs, passes walls from which the plaster hangs in lumps, revealing the patchwork of boarding behind. However, once on the top floor you are in a different world. Here is a large lounge area, used by the group for relaxing and checking the output signal of the station, a small but well-equipped studio, and space for a large talks studio to be built at a later stage”.
The article continued: “In the main studio, which is about 10ft x 8ft, half the room has been cut off by a dividing wall, with a large glass panel let into it. On one side of the wall is a small talks and presentation area, with microphones by AKG. On the business side of the glass panel is the station mixer, into which pass the signals from the two Ferrograph series 7, and the two home built Connoisseur record decks. The mixer is unusual, in that it is built under the bench top, which means that the DJ or engineer has to feel all the time for the control knobs. This panel can drive the station in a self-op mode or in the presented type of programming. Ken Fulstow, of Hull HBS, told me that the station broadcasts only some 2.5 hours a week of programmes, mainly music or request shows. The station’s signals are fed into the City of Hull’s own telephone system, then out to four hospitals in the Hull area, on Thursday and on Sunday afternoons”.
By the mid 1970s the service had moved into studios on Beverley Road and over the years expanded to cover the Beverley Westwood Hospital, Beverley, Hull Maternity Hospital, Kingston General Hospital, Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham, Hull Royal Infirmary and the Princess Royal Hospital.
Tom Robinson, the Hon. Secretary of Kingstown Radio in 1983, wrote to the Secretary of NAHBO: “We would like to nominate three of our long serving members for the certificate of service to Hospital Broadcasting here in Kingston upon Hull. Ken Fulstow Founder member of the Hull and East Riding HBS and the man responsible for the inaugural meeting of NAHBO in our city in 1969. (See Chapter 6). Rodney and Minnie Buckingham. They have been in HBS with Ken from the earliest days of the Hull and East Riding HBS. For many years Rodney was our engineer and Minnie has had many jobs including among them treasurer for many of those years”.
Tom also wrote: “We nominate them for the 25 year service award. They were taking requests into the hospitals long before Kingstown Radio was officially recognised as a hospital broadcasting station”.
In 1992 the service was broadcasting about 55 hours per week to 6 hospitals. The 42 members included Stan Hall (founder member), David Hutchins (17 years), Tom Robinson (15 years) and Mark Antony (14 years).
In 1999 the service began broadcasting on 1350 AM to the grounds of the Hull Royal Infirmary. In 2012 it was available on the Hospedia system to the Castle Hill Hospital, and to the Beverley Westwood Hospital. It was also available via the local NHS intranet across the Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust.
In June 2013 Kingstown Radio went off air due to a suspected power surge damaging equipment. “As of August 2013, work is under-way at the station to replace and install new studio equipment and get the station back on air. The station is hoping to be broadcasting once again by April 2014”.In 2016 Kingston Hospital Radio was broadcasting to the Kingston Hospital.
45.1 Radio Robin (1993)
Radio Robin started broadcasting to Ilkeston Community Hospital in 1993.
The service ceased operating in about June 2016.
See Part 2. Ipswich (1957) for the early history of the sports commentary service.
46.1 Hospital Radio Ipswich (1971)
Hospital Radio Ipswich, a registered charity ran by volunteers, was founded in 1971 at the Anglesea Road Hospital and broadcasted in an administration room once the staff had left for the evening.
Paul Brown, a presenter at the time recalled the studio set up as “an old table with a couple of turntables fitted into the top. No headphones just a studio monitor. A couple of microphones on swan neck stands and an old reel to reel tape recorder, which was donated by an Vietnam veteran and a cardboard box with about half a dozen LP records. All connected straight into a hundred watt amp, which was then connected directly into the hospital sound system”.
After time in the administration room Paul Brown recalled the studio moving to “a small room in the basement, which was next to the boiler room. It used to get very hot. The records would warp on occasion. In the end we were offered accommodation at the present location in Heath Road. It took us just one weekend to move everything from one hospital to the other.”
It’s at the current Heath Road site where Hospital Radio Ipswich is broadcast to all the wards 24/7 at the Ipswich Hospital via Channel 1 on the Hospedia communication system.
In 2016 Hospital Radio Ipswich was broadcasting to the Ipswich Hospital.
47.1 Radio Airedale (Pre 1961)
A music based service started in Keighley prior to October 1961. A photograph in the TOC H magazine of that time has the following write-up: “The announcer and controllers at work on the regular programme of broadcasts to Keighley hospitals, from the new sound-proof studio at the headquarters of the Keighley (TOC H) branch”.
A service called Radio Airedale was broadcasting at the Airedale General Hospital in 1992.
The service stopped broadcasting in 2002.
A local newspaper report of 8 October 2007 read: “RADIO Airedale is looking for budding broadcasters to help them re-launch after a five-year break. The popular station at Airedale Hospital was taken off the air while technical improvements were made to the sound”.
The services finally resumed broadcasting on Monday 5 May 2008.
In 2016 the service was broadcasting to the Airedale Hospital
48.1 Bay Trust Radio (1977)
In December 1976 a meeting was organised to establish a service at the Westmorland County Hospital. A committee was formed and Mr. Jim Bowness was elected the first Chairman of Kendal Hospital Radio. Patients, relatives, friends etc. all donated records and The Hospital League of Friends helped with funding to purchase equipment.
On Sunday 6 February 1977 the first broadcast was made from a studio in the Westmorland County Hospital and presented by Jim Bowness. “From our archives we have found that this broadcast attracted 60 dedications (requests) and 22 tracks of music were played. Also included in this show was an interview with Daphne Cunningham – Matron at Westmorland County Hospital at this time”.
It 1985 the Kendal Green and Meathop Hospitals joined the service and as a result the service was renamed Kendal Hospital’s Radio.
“Technology during this period was very limited for small broadcasting stations like KHR who were trying to include these two hospitals in the system. However, they overcame the problem with a simple idea – record the programme on a cassette tape and deliver the cassette tape to the hospital’s the following morning and broadcast the programme in the afternoon usually after visiting time!”.
“The next major change came in 1991 when the Westmorland General Hospital was opened, a new studio was provided on Level 2 and the existing equipment was transferred from Westmorland County Hospital and KHR was back in business”.
“In 2003, with technical help from the Hospital Broadcasting Association we established that by having a certain computer package and receive information from a satellite transmission we could place all our music on a computer data base and receive national & international news from Sky plus the latest weather forecast for the region”.
“By 2004 we were really experienced in presenting computerise programs and then the Station Manager decided to upgrade our software and some of the equipment. We obtained new software called Myriad from a company called P Squared of Hull which supplies many of the national and local radio stations with this type of equipment. We upgraded this software to Version 3”.
“In November 2007 we were asked by The Morecambe Bay NHS Trust if it would be possible to broadcast programs to The Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital Barrow in addition to Westmorland General Hospital. We couldn’t refuse this offer and with some help from the NHS Trust we commenced broadcasting to the three hospitals in February 2008 and that’s when we changed our name to Bay Trust Radio”. See Morecombe. Lancaster & Morecombe Hospital Radio.
“It was during 2014 that the station had another upgrade with computers. We were able to upgrade to the most up-to-date version of the Myriad Suite from P Squared; including playout, scheduling and a chance to replace our ‘Scoop’ news programs with Myriad News. This was made possible by obtaining a grant from the Hospital League of Friends”.
49.1 Kettering Hospital Radio (1979)
Kettering Hospital Radio began broadcasting in 1979 to the Kettering General Hospital.
In 2016 the services was broadcasting to the Kettering General Hospital.
50.1 Radio Kidderminster HBS (1974)
The Radio Kidderminster Hospital Broadcasting Service started broadcasting to the Kidderminster General Hospital in October 1974.
NAHBO’s 1974 Directory of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations records: Radio Kidderminster Hospital Broadcasting Service. Kidderminster General Hospital. Formed Oct 74. Contact M H Preston. 8 members.
“Kiddderminster Hospital Radio was dissolved by its members by way of an EGM on Sunday 29 April 2012”.
- Kings Lynn
51.1 Hospital Radio Kings Lynn (1974)
Hospital Radio Lynn was first thought of in 1972, it then took a further 2 years to put together and raise enough money to launch its first programmes on the 17 April 1974.
“With the help from H J Mallett & Co who donated the very first studio mobile home and funds from the Hospital League of Friends and a handful of volunteers Hospital Radio Lynn soon became very popular with the patients of the then General Hospital, St James Hospital (where the studio was located), Hardwick Road Hospital and Chatterton House”.
“After several studio changes and the building of the current Queen Elizabeth Hospital our studio was moved to this location in 1980. Again with the help of the Hospital League of Friends and the Hospital Trust we were given a brand new portacabin we promptly built our studio and were soon broadcasting from its new location.
In 2000 “with the generous help from the Hospital League of Friends & the Trust our new studio was built and in September it was officially opened by Mrs Pam Thrower & Dot Richardson who had over the years been great supporters of our organization”.