Hastings Senior Men’s Forum

ON February 12 we had a talk from Wendy Butler on Hospital Radio.

The Hospital Radio was started here in Hastings at the Royal East Sussex Hospital in Cambridge Road in the 1970s with just a tape recorder and some records in a broom cupboard. Later on a computerised equipment and a larger studio installed in St Helens Hospital.

In 1976 land lines were laid down by BT to all our local hospitals, linking them together, this improved the service and introduced a 24-hour play and system playing CDs.

When the Conquest Hospital was built the radio was given a studio located at the front of the hospital on level 4 and it took them four weeks to move everything in.

They now get people applying to work, or help as DJs. Radio staff visit the wards to obtain requests for music and news items to be played. There are seven people on the committee and the group is a registered charity.

They broadcast news daily supplied by IRN. Request programmes are very popular and everyday at 7.30pm there is a programme for the visually impaired.

To raise funds to continue operating they get involved in many activities that take place in Hastings, including the Carnival with a lorry supplied by French and Co, with a driver for the day, free of charge.

Famous names have been linked with the radio, they include Radio 2 presenter Alex Lester and Matt Monroe’s daughter Maisie. All volunteers must undergo tests and security screening.

The most favorite programme is the Sunday requests and My Way, by Frank Sinatra the most requested tune. We were given a very thorough insight into the workings of this important radio service.