Is hospital radio dead?Follow @mediaukdiscuss
No, not at all.
This comment, by Neil Wilkes of Coventry Hospital Radio, was posted on a blog post I’ve written on the subject:
“Coventry Hospital Radio has listening figures of over 21000 hours each month – there is a place for hospital radio! We have been number 1 in the ratings for over 13 months running ahead of all BBC TV and Radio! We receive listening figures from the Hospedia units that are used in the hospital.”
My opinion is that there will always be a place for good locally produced niche content. Yes people can bring mp3 players and laptops into hospital with them but hospital radio is MORE than that. What about the request collectors that tirelessly go around the wards (in some cases they may be the only visitor a patient gets in a day). I started my career at Hospital Radio Tunbridge Wells and I was able to learn so much there plus make some life long friends.
Hospital radio is not dead but it needs the support of the NHS, League of Friends and other charity grants to keep going and in order for that to happen good arguments need to be made for why hospital radio should continue.
The Hospital Broadcasting Association do a great job of promoting and supporting hospital radio stations. Long may it continue!
I’m the station engineer for Radio Phoenix based at Neath Port Talbot Hospital and I can vouch for the team that keep the station on air. From our request collectors to presenters, and the smt we all put in the effort and hours. My engineering team and myself reacently spent nearly 300 hours at the station in 3 weeks to strip out and rebuild the studios. Since doing this the level of feedback from our listeners has increased with a more possitive attitude. The reason for this is that when hospital radio have the right support and staffing then it can offer not just the listeners a good service but staff a brilliant training ground, however with the wrong staffing and there is a local station to myself (of which I am a past member)which are more interested in funding the Chairman and smt than providing a service to the hospital. It’s stations like this that give hospital radio a bad reputation.
It just depends who your with like Nathan said i guess….
Unfortunatly the station of which I refer to get all the funding yet we strugle to get stuff however this motivates us more and actually have a fund raising event coming up of which I am personally planning
From the report, The health benefits of hospital radio and other patient stimulation – from in ward bingo to quizzes – has been noted by the British Medical Association. Last year Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the BMA, said: “What people sometimes forget is that while helping people to feel better during their hospital stay we can reduce their need for painkillers. They have shorter times in hospital, shorter time for the problems of being in hospital and of course, save money.”
However with Hospital beds under demand people are being sent home quicker to finish recovery at home, there is a potential case for Hospital radio, rather than declining and closing as it seems to in some places, becoming a FM community station to reach these people and those in care homes? Some stations have done this already in Devon, Cornwall, N Wales, Kent, Essex, (and perhaps other places?) also helps fundraising and awareness of the station.
But others might say the aim of helping those in hospital might get lost in favour of the wider community!
Hospital radio as a service will be fine, but its appeal for volunteer presenters has certainly fell now that community radio is well-established and widespread.
In my time liaising with new volunteers for a community radio station there were many that had come from local hospitals and indicated that they saw us as a ‘step up’ or an ‘upgrade’, all because of the FM frequency and wider coverage.
So while the service should be alright, even in the age of portable media players and wireless internet browsing as competitors in the wards, it may be increasingly difficult to get talented volunteers through the door.
I do not believe Hospital Radio is dead! I am the vice chairman at AppleAM Taunton Hospital Radio. Hospedia figures show we are constantly number 1 in the radio listings. We have a strong team of volunteers who give there time each week on air and off air! In fact our team put out a variety of shows from 8am everyday and most days we are live untill 10pm. Our enquiries to join may have dipped in recent years, but we still have a steady stream wanting to join us.
In my experience (I was Programme Controller of HWD Hospital Radio for a time, alongside Ricky Durkin, and previously worked at 2HR in Huddersfield) hospital radio is partially full of people wanting to do the right thing by the audience (and play lots of Jim Reeves), but it’s also partially full of people who just want to play radio stations. The trick is to find a station that’s full of both, and ensure that the “play radio station” folks, who never bother to walk the wards, don’t get in the way of those who wear out their shoe leather going round the wards and talk to the audience.
As the Chairman and CEO of the Hospital Broadcasting Association I can confirm that there are thousands of hospital radio volunteers across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland who give their time, expertise and money in many cases to hospital radio. It is a proven fact that music is an aid to recovery and hospital radio stations fulfil a need to provide hospital patients with a local and very personal service. The ward visitors are, has already been stated, sometimes the only visitor that some patients get.
It is also true that many hospital radio stations exist on shoestring budgets from money their members raise, sponsorship and donations which are gratefully received.
Like hospital radio statiions, the Hospital Broadcasting Association also exists purely on the work of volunteers and through the National Hospital Radio Awards I can also say that the level of professionalism shown by hospital radio presenters around the country is supurb and perhaps this is also another reason why hospital radio stations are the number one for listeners in the vast majority of hospitals.
For further information about Hospital Radio and how you can help your local station please email me at email@example.com