History P5

  1. Netherlands

1.1  Zieken Omroepen Nederland (Early 1960s)

In the early 1960s an association called ZiekenOmroepen Nederland (ZON) was formed in Holland. A number of national fund raising campaigns being organised from which member services were granted donations in the form of studio equipment. At one time the association had a smart office and a professional staff located in Hilversum. In April 1970 NAHBO’s inaugural meeting was addressed by a member of the ZON committee. 

In 1985 the organisation was officially dissolved. 

1.2 Vereniging Huisomroepen Nederland (About 1987) 

After the dissolution of ZON (ZiekenOmroepen Nederland) in 1985 a number of services in Holland realised that some kind of overall organisation was necessary. As a result a new organisation called VHN, Vereniging Huisomroepen Nederland (United Hospital Broadcasting Netherlands), was formed in about 1987.

A letter received by Alan Grimadell, the Chairman of NAHBO, in March 1992 from Ton de Kruijf, the Chairman of VHN read: “It has taken us a long time to reform the “lON” into “VHN”. We are now making preparations for our 5th anniversary this year. Unlike your organisation we have only 126 hospital broadcasting (services) as members, while the number of volunteers is unknown, maybe a few thousand”.

In 2014 over 80 services were members of VHN. The secretary was Walter van Gennip.

See Part 3 – Music Services. Netherlands.


  1. Republic of Ireland

2.1 Irish Hospital Radio Network (2004)

The Irish Hospital Radio Network was formed in 2004.

In 2016 the Irish Hospital Radio Network had 4 member stations:

St Ita’s Hospital Radio

Cork University Hospital Radio – CUH FM

South Tipp General Hospital Radio

Regional Hospital Radio Service 

In 2016 the chairman was John Savage. 

See Part 3 – Music Services. Republic of Ireland. 


  1. United Kingdom

3.1 National Association of Hospital Broadcasters (1958)

The association was formed in 1958 and all its members were football commentary services. In August 1958, Mr S Dent from Stockport wrote on the subject of a proposed National Association of Hospital Broadcasters: “I consider that sufficient time has now been afforded to all the people to whom I wrote last May to reply, and I am very pleased to report that a large number of replies have been received, and a large majority are in favour of some action on the above lines being proceeded with. I have come to the conclusion that, for the time being at least, we should adopt the excellent suggestion of one gentleman to have a periodic News Letter, in which items of interest could be distributed to interested parties.

As the only expenditure would be paper and postage (I have the use of a duplicating machine) a few shillings a year from participants would cover expenses. Perhaps you would be good enough to let me have your views on this suggestion, and if sufficient numbers are interested I am willing to act as Hon. Secretary of such a group, at least for the opening period”.

He continued: “It would appear that at the moment hospital broadcasting is being carried out under the auspices of TOC H, The League of Friends, Supporters Clubs and a variety of special organisations especially formed for the purpose, and the suggested National Association will not of course attempt to interfere with domestic arrangements, and all existing organisations will retain their autonomy. I believe that such an association should confine its activities to circularising information to interested parties purely on FOOTBALL matters”.

It is not known how long the National Association of Hospital Broadcasters existed. An ex-member of the Newcastle sports commentary service recalls attending a meeting of the association in either the late 1950s or early 1960s.

3.2  National Association of Hospital Broadcasting Services (About 1968)

In the late 1960s Ken Fulstow, a member of the Hull Hospital Radio Group, had the idea of bringing all the groups in Yorkshire together, to sort out common problems, exchange programmes etc.

Around 1968 one of the hospital broadcasting services in Yorkshire sent a request to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh asking him to be their President. In a most sympathetic reply Prince Phillip declined but suggested that, as there were some 200 organisations in the country, it might be well worth while exploring the possibility of a National Organisation. This suggestion was taken up by the sixteen services in Yorkshire.

The minutes of the Edinburgh Hospital Broadcasting Service record: “On 6th October 1968 a group of our members attended an exploratory meeting in Doncaster to form the National Association of Hospital Broadcasting Services (NAHBS)”.

Although the concept proved both viable and valuable within the county, the organisation did not become National. This prompted Ken and others “based upon the fund of experience of Hospital Broadcasting in Yorkshire and elsewhere” to attempt to form a truly national association.

3.3 National Association of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations (5th April 1970)

On 28th February 1970 Ken Fulstow, as Chairman of NAHBS, wrote: “Dear Colleague. You are cordially invited to send one, or more, representatives to a meeting of this organisation being held at the HULL ROYAL INFIRMARY on Sunday 5th April 1970 commencing at 3.30pm. The object of the meeting is to form a National Association which is truly representative of the Hospital Broadcasting Services in Britain”.

The minutes included: The winding up of NAHBS. A new name: National Association of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations (NAHBO). Treasurer’s report (total £5-12-6d). An address by a member of the committee of “lON” (lON being the National Association of Hospital Broadcasting services in Netherlands which had been operating successfully for 10 years).

Elected members were: Ken Fulstow of Hull (Chairman), Peter Ward of Pontefract (Treasurer), Eileen Webb of Bately (Secretary). Other committee members were Dave Jamison (Edinburgh), Eric Smith (Durham) and Brian Snowden (York). The membership fee was set at £3. The 10 founder member services are thought to have been from Bately, Durham, Edinburgh, Harold Wood, Hull, Pontefract, Southampton, South Shields, Swindon and York.

During the first two years membership increased gradually from the ten founder members to 25. By 1972 the organisation was beginning to have a real impact and the first of three expansion periods started. During the next four years it expanded at what was to be its fastest rate, averaging 32 new members per year (peaking at 40 in 1974) and reaching a grand total of 151 in 1976. After a lull in 1977, by which time the number of members had reached 156, it then started to expand again, averaging 19 new members per year until 1982. After another one year’s lull, membership once again started to expand, averaging 12 new members per year, before peaking at 339 members in 1989.

Peter Dixon, the Membership Secretary reported in 1984: ”The total UK membership is at present 273, plus 4 in the Irish Republic and 6 overseas. We also know of 82 Hospital Broadcasting Services in the UK who are not members of NAHBO, 33 of these are former members”.

As can be seen in the following graph, the proportion of all music based services (excluding those in Holland) that joined NAHBO was at a peak in 1981 when the level reached 90%. The percentage then reduced slightly, averaging at about 80% during the next decade.

NAHBO Membership 1970 to 1994
NAHBO Membership 1970 to 1994

NAHBO’s impact during the early 1970s was even more significant than the increase in its membership. It also made a very significant contribution to the expansion of music based services in the UK.

During the decade prior to the formation of NAHBO in April 1970, music based services were opening up in the UK at an average rate of 7 per year and the number was projected to reach 138 services by 1976.

During the five years following NAHBO’s formation the average rate more than trebled to 23 per year, peaking at 37 in 1973 and reaching 226, not the projected 138, in 1976. The difference of 88 services represents an increase of over 60%, most of which can be attributed to NAHBO.

An article about NAHBO issued in early 1972 reads: “Delegates from 17 hospital radio groups met recently in Swindon for the first Annual General Meeting of the National Association of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations”.

For the 60 members of the radio groups who attended it was a chance to exchange ideas.

In his first annual report, the Chairman, Ken Fulstow, of Hull Hospital Broadcasting Service, said: “The first year of any new organisation was always difficult but the first year’s work of the National Association had been most successful. The Association was now a registered charity, its constitution having satisfied the close scrutiny of the Charities Commissioner ..Member Stations who join could now get a far cheaper rate of copyright clearance than ever before – some £2 per year. The Association is pressing strongly that the government should give some form of tax relief or exemption for hospital radio groups. The much-vexed question of landline charges was under discussion with the GPO. Membership had grown from the 10 founders to the present 22 groups”.

The minutes of the AGM, held at Northwick Park Hospital on 14th April, 1974 recorded that Ken Fulstow did not want to stand for re-election as Chairman. A well deserved vote of thanks was given. He was elected Vice-Chairman: In addition to Ken the new committee included Ashley Thomas of Coventry (Chairman), Mrs Ena Montgomery (Secretary), Geoff Steer (Treasurer) and Dennis Rookard (Public Relations Officer). The statement of account showed a balance on account of £88.16.0d.

Chairmen (1970-1992)

Name Service From To
1 Ken Fulstow Hull Hospital Broadcasting Service 1970 1974
2 Ashley Thomas Coventry Hospital Broadcasting Service 1974 1975
3 Stephen Coote Portsmouth Hospital Broadcasting Service 1975 1977
4 Terry James    Bristol Hospital Broadcasting Service 1977 1981
5 George Burton Hereford Hospital Radio 1981 1986
6 Peter Milward Lancaster & Morecambe Hospital Radio 1986 1990
7 Alan Grimadell Derby Hospital Broadcasting Service 1990 1992

NAHBO Company Ltd was formed in 1992.

Chief Executive (1992-2009)

In 1992 the position of Chairman was replaced by a Chief Executive, with Alan Grimadell taking over the post.

Alan Grimadell became President in 1993 and he was replaced by Colin Powell, followed in turn by Steve Allen, Ray Oxley, John Watson, Paul Sysum and Phil Moon.

John Watson reported in March 2017: “Chris Berezai stood in as Chief Exec for about 9 or 10 months or so between the departure of Colin Powell and the next AGM when Steve Allan was elected.  He’s worth a mention because he was a good temporary Chief Exec”.

In 2009 the position of Chief Executive was replaced by a Chairman, with Phil Moon taking over the post.

Chairmen (Since 2009)

Name Service From To
1 Phil Moon Radio DGH – Eastbourne 2009 2012
2 Jim Simpson Jubilee Hospital Radio – Guernsey 2012 2015
3 Grant McNaughtom Radio Grapevine – Livingston 2015  


  Name Service From To
1 Alan Grimadell Radio Link. Derby 1993 1996
2 Ena Mongomery Chorley Hospital Radio 1996 2000
3 June Snowden York Hospital Radio 2000  

NAHBO is registered as a charity (number 1015501) with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. The service was registered as a charity in the first year of its formation (1970-71).

It is also registered at Companies House as the National Association Of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations Company Ltd and incorporated on 24 Sept 1992 (number 2750147).

Its official name is the National Association of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations, but adopted “Hospital Broadcasting Association” as its working name in the 1990s.

Station of the Year Awards

Year Station Location
1996 Hospital Radio Perth Perth
1997 Hospital Radio Perth Perth
1998 Whitechapel AM London
1999 Hospital Radio Perth Perth
2000 Radio Cavell Oldham
2001 TLF Radio Totnes
2002 Bath Hospital Radio Bath
2003 Auckland Hospital Radio Bishop Auckland
2004 Radio Addenbrookes Cambridge
2005 Radio Redill Redhill
2006 Hospital Radio Chelmsford Chelmsford
2007 Hospital Radio Perth Perth
2008 Hospital Radio Plymouth Plymouth
2009 Radio Fox Leicester
2010 Hospital Radio Chelmsford Chelmsford
2011 Hospital Radio Plymouth Plymouth
2012 Hospital Radio Plymouth Plymouth
2013 Whipps Cross Hospital Radio Leytonstone
2014 Hospital Radio Plymouth Plymouth
2015 Hospital Radio Plymouth Plymouth
2016 Radio Brockley Stanmore

Based on the Hospital Broadcasting Association’s membership list of 1 July 2016 the average number of members per service was 34.

The four largest in terms of members were: Hospital Radio Bedside – Bournemouth & East Dorset Hospital Broadcasting (134), Southampton Hospital Radio (110), Hospital Radio Chelmsford (90) and The Hospital Broadcasting Service – Glasgow (74).

On 6 December 2016 the Hospital Broadcasting Association’s membership list records: 180 services. 169 Music Based services, 8 Radio Lollipop services and 3 TV services

In 2016 NAHBO’s committee included June Snowden (President), Grant McNaughton (Chairman), Nigel Dallard (Secretary) and Mike Sarre (Treasurer).

Acknowledgement: “Dennis Rookard, who passed away in 2010, for his invaluable contribution to the information on the early history of NAHBO, its predecessor NAHBS and for his long involvement in hospital radio”.