Seven hospital broadcasting service in the Republic of Ireland have been identified.
In 1953 the Galway University Hospital Radio Service became the first hospital broadcasting service to start in the Republic of Ireland.
In 2016 the Irish Hospital Radio Network listed 4 member stations: Cork University Hospital Radio, St Ita’s Hospital Radio, Regional Hospital Radio and South Tipperary General Hospital Radio.
1.1 Galway Hospital Radio Service (1953)
A hospital broadcasting service is believed to have started at the Galway University Hospital in 1953. The first hospital broadcasting service to start in the Republic of Ireland.
It has not been established when the service ceased broadcasting. In 2016 hospital radio was listed as a service on the hospital’s web site.
2.1 Beaumont Hospital Radio (Start Date Required)
Beaumont Hospital Radio provided a service to the Beaumont Hospital.
The service closed in 2007.
2.2 Mater Hospital Radio (Start Date Required)
Mater Hospital Radio broadcasted on FM 89.5 to the Mater Hospital.
A report dated 12 July 2010 stated: “The station is currently off-air. There are issues with regard to the equipment including the transmitter. As you will be aware the service was provided by volunteers and has no funding to enable the purchase of new equipment. It should be noted that other hospital radio services have significant support from both hospital management and sponsors, which is not the case with the service in the Mater. Whether the station will be back on-air or not cannot be confirmed at this point”.
3.1 Cork University Hospital Radio – CUH FM (1989)
Cork University Hospital Radio (102FM) carried out its first ‘live broadcast’ on 29 January 1989 to the patients, staff, visitors and other healthcare service users at what was then the Cork Regional Hospital.
“This was a milestone event in the history of the hospital complex and was the end result of a mammoth seven year effort which began in 1982 by a number of individuals, including the present chairman of the Irish Hospital Radio Network, Noel Welch to introduce hospital radio to that location”.
In 2016 the service reported “Presently there are 40 volunteers in the form of broadcasters, broadcasters assistants, technical direction and support personnel providing the service.
The station broadcasts under a renewable five year licence contract granted by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and provides a 24-hour/seven day service with approximately 12 hours of live programming and 12 hours of pre-recorded programming on offer daily. Also included are religious ceremonies, health promotion advertisements, news, and community notices or events and many requests, dedications and goodwill messages”.
The station is located in its own purposely-designed and fitted studio in the main concourse of what is now the Cork University Hospital and has recently extended its broadcasting services to the newer on-site Cork University Maternity Hospital and the even newer Cardiac-Renal Centre.
“CUH FM hospital radio looks forward to continuing to provide a first class service to its target audience and to its future associations with the Irish Hospital Radio Network, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, HSE, Cork City Council, and all of its loyal listeners and supporters”. Tom Browne.
4.1 South Tipperary General Hospital Radio (2000)
The South Tipperary General Hospital Radio was launched on 18 May 2000 and broadcasts on 93.7FM.
“South Tipperary General Hospital Radio is the brainchild of the Friends of South Tipperary General Hospital Group who have been in existence over the years, helping out with and raising money for various projects in and out of the hospital. The group members are putting on their headphones and spinning the discs at the station, as are several of hospital staff, and members of the public who want to help out or have an interest in radio and music. The signal is beamed out from two equipped rooms at the hospital”.
“Patients in Clonmel’s hospitals have a smile on their faces these days, as they tune into very own radio station. Staff and patients turn the dial to 93.7FM – SouthTipp General Hospital Radio, from 3pm to 10pm on weekdays and 10am to 6pm Saturdays and Sundays, to hear their requests and dedications, as well as hospital information”.
5.1 Regional Hospital Radio (2001)
Regional Hospital Radio serves the patients and staff of the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick and started broadcasting on the 16 July 16 2001.
The station broadcasts on Regional Hospital Radio 94.2FM 24-hours each day. Live programmes run from 11am each weekday morning until 9pm each evening. Outside of these hours the service is maintained using an automated playout system.
“Our purpose is to provide the best possible therapeutic radio service to patients and staff. By playing a request, or passing on a get well message, we hope to be a link between the people in our care, their relatives and friends and the hospital which serves them”.
6.1 St Ita’s Hospital Radio (1983)
St Ita’s Hospital Radio stated broadcasting in December 1983 to St Ita’s Hospital.
“Hospital radio first broadcast in December 1983, using home-made equipment, from a storeroom at the hospital. One of the services provided at the time was a cable television service which piped movies to the wards. With the arrival of cheaper VCR’s in the wards, the requirement for this service diminished and it was discontinued”.
It was the first radio station in Ireland to receive one of the new broadcast licenses when the minister for communications of the day introduced the broadcasting bill in 1988. The service broadcasts on 89.5FM.
In 2016 the service reported: “The station now operates from a modern studio with professional equipment in compliance with the criteria laid down by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland under a five year license”.
“At present we have 15 voluntary presenters and we broadcast around the clock with live shows from 10am to 2pm each day and automated play lists for the remainder which has proved immensely popular with our audience”.