Run entirely by volunteers, Hospital Radio Plymouth has a long and interesting history. We’ve been a fixture within the local community for over 50 years. Countless presenters have walked through our doors who’ve gone on to the glitz and glamour of professional radio and television, including Phillip Schofield, Gordon Sparks, David Rodgers and Josh Andrews. There are many others working behind the scenes whose long and fruitful careers have started at Hospital Radio right here in Plymouth.
Our team of talented and dedicated broadcasters, technicians and admin people have been producing both live and recorded programmes since 1969, from Plymouth and the surrounding area. We also bring you Plymouth Argyle football matches live from Home Park direct to your hospital bedside over on 107.3FM.
Through the Coronavirus pandemic, our team of volunteers have persevered, setting up booths at home and broadcasting remotely. Away from the studios, our new studio technology has allowed us to continue our work in the community very successfully.
The last few years we’ve broadcast from our new home at Bircham House near Derriford Hospital. We have two amazing studios. The main studio is used for most of our live programs, whereas the smaller second studio is used for recording and creating items for broadcast.
The staff at Hospital Radio Plymouth continue to produce a range of specialist programs to be broadcast throughout the day and early evening. With the fast moving world of social media, you can now connect with us direct to our studios using your mobile device and the Trust’s free NHS Wi-Fi.
The history of Hospital Radio Plymouth is rooted in the community of Devon, and the network of hospitals in the surrounding area.
Back in the 1950s the Toc, H organisation commenced broadcasting through the GPO phone network to the nine city hospitals on Saturday afternoons when Plymouth Argyle were playing at home. This proved highly successful.
In 1967, the Plymouth Lions Club commenced a programme of music called ‘Disc Date’ every other Wednesday evening, carrying on as long as requests lasted for Mount Gould hospital.
The next stage was in 1969 when Jimmie Constable, Tom Hepple and Joe Pengelly, a professional broadcaster working for the BBC, teamed up to produce a weekly show. This proved so popular that it was decided to secure bigger premises.
It was the year Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Marvin Gaye was top of the charts and Beatle-mania had taken over the world. Now without a doubt one of the greatest albums ever made, Abbey Road was released. Who would have thought four men crossing the road would become so iconic?
John Lennon married Yoko Ono and for the first time, a prototype of a Concorde aeroplane flew in Bristol. The Rolling Stones performed a free concert at Hyde Park in London in front of an estimated quarter of a million people, and outside the confines of our safe, suburban metropolises we had built, a socio-political movement was building against a war in Vietnam that would change the very fabric of our society forever.
Coronation Street was aired in colour for the first time. David Bowie released his single Space Oddity to the unsuspecting British public and Bob Dylan would skip Woodstock to play at the second Isle of Wright Festival.
It was a year of bell-bottoms, kaftans and mad men. Monty Python’s Flying Circus debuted, as would Star Trek on BBC One. It was also the year Hospital Radio Plymouth found her first of many homes at 44 New Street on the Barbican.
On the 2nd October 1969 the then Lord Mayor Alderman George Creber officially opened our Barbican studio. The first programmes were transmitted on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and went to all the city’s hospitals.
When we outgrew 44 New Street the next move was to the Ladies’ Hospital at Lockyer Street in March 1973. This venue lasted until the late 1970s when a move was made to the basement of a property in Nelson Gardens in Stoke, that was owned by the Trust.
From there a move was made to Greenbank Hospital.
In 1994 we went across the road to Freedom Fields, before relocating to Derriford Hospital in 1998.
Ten years at Derriford was aptly celebrated when we became the HBA Station of The Year 2008. In 2016 we were asked to move again but this time the location was unknown. Various options and proposals looked at until eventually in late 2016, with the hard work of Andrew Hill and the Hospital Estates department, a studio and office area was made available in a building called Bircham House.
In late 2017 we were able to purchase equipment and update our computer playout system, enabling us to produce and provide high quality programming to our listeners at our Hospital. A huge thanks to all the people who have helped to fund this stage of the process.