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Half a century by your side - Coventry Hospital Radio turns 50

Coventry Hospital Radio (CHR), which has broadcast to thousands of patients, has celebrated half a century on the air with a special 50-hour live broadcast.

Beaming out 21 different shows to bedsides across University Hospital, Coventry, where the volunteer-run station is based, the broadcaster has been entertaining and comforting patients, local residents and those further afield for more than half a century.

From its humble origins as Walsgrave Radio in 1972, the station joined the Voluntary Organisation at the old Walsgrave Hospital in 1980, when it became Coventry Hospitals Broadcasting Service, before becoming CHR around the turn of the millennium.

Since the station’s early days, an eclectic mix of larger-than-life personalities, popular guests and patient-favourite songs has filled the airwaves, with presenters past and present coming together to celebrate the milestone.

Barnie Choudhury, who cut his teeth at CHR before moving on to broadcast with the BBC, shared the impact the station has had on him.

He said: “Hospital Radio taught me to be a professional. I followed in the footsteps of the giants that set the station up in 1972, they are my teachers, friends and the reason why I became a pro broadcaster.”

The station has evolved continuously throughout its lifetime, moving from vinyl to digital playback, and even a studio revamp featuring state-of-the-art broadcasting technology funded by the UHCW Charity.

CHR Presenter Simon Tidmarsh, who volunteers for the station alongside working in the Surgical Services team at the hospital, said: “It’s truly marvellous to be celebrating 50 years and to bring so many of our volunteers together to commemorate the occasion.

“It brings us all a great deal of pleasure to be able to serve our patients across the hospital and give them something to look forward to throughout their stay and we hope to continue doing so for another 50 years and more.”

Professor Andy Hardy, Chief Executive Officer at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust said: “Reaching 50 years on air is an amazing achievement and demonstrates the invaluable role of Coventry Hospital Radio. I would like to wish the team a very happy birthday and look forward to seeing what the future will bring.”

Dame Stella Manzie, UHCW NHS Trust Chair, added: “Radio is such powerful means of communication – that human interaction and connection goes a long way, especially when you are poorly and away from home. We are hugely grateful to our volunteers for the energy and enthusiasm they continuously show to enhance the experience of our patients.”

Coventry Hospital Radio is funded entirely by generous donations - you can support the station by visiting their Just Giving page - https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/coventry-hospital-radio.

 


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