in the 1980s
One of the important voluntary services
that can be found in most hospitals is hospital radio, which
can greatly relieve patients' anxiety, reduce boredom, and
enhance their experience of hospital life. The radio station
began broadcasting at New Cross Hospital on 27th September,
1983, thanks to a team of willing volunteers, and financial
support from the New Cross Hospital League of Friends,
Patients Aid, the WRVS (now known as the RVS), Marks &
Spencer, and other local businesses. Broadcasting was initially limited to three nights
a week from 7 o'clock until ten o'clock. In 1985 the service
was extended to cover the Royal Hospital.
What follows is taken from the radio
station's booklet, published in 1985.
An advert, showing the studio.
How patients 'tuned-in' in the 1980s.
|Running a hospital radio station is a costly business,
and so fund raising has always been a high priority. When
the radio station opened, the studio equipment was supplied
by Patients' Aid, and Marks & Spencer kindly donated £13,000
towards the station's building costs. They also raised an
extra £2,000 to cover the running costs for the first year.
The Halifax Building Society organised an appeal for
records, and in under one month collected enough money to
buy over 500 albums and singles.
The radio station's
promotion department was always on the lookout for local
fetes and garden parties which the station members could
attend, to provide a sound system and some music, in order
to raise money.
In action at a New Cross Hospital
Some of the volunteers.
Paul Metcalf and guests in Studio Two.
Journalist Alyson Lanying with Station
|In the 1980s the radio station had a small production
team, including the programme presenters, who planned the
programmes. Suggestions also came from other members of the
station and some of the patients. Ninety percent of the
programming consisted of patient requests and dedications
that were collected from the wards by the team of ward
walkers, and the presenters. Programmes also included
features, competitions, phone-ins, and hospital information.
Guests were invited into the studio to talk about their
working life, or their club, or society, and there were
programmes looking back at the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
Saturday afternoons were dedicated to sport, particularly
live commentaries on the football matches at Molineux, and
Sunday mornings were dedicated to the service at the
Gary Peake of the Promotion Team in
|The radio station still broadcasts today, providing a
wonderful service to all the hospital patients. There are
now new studios, and a website, and a dedicated team of
volunteers and presenters who make it all possible. Long may