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Hospital radio in Coventry first originated towards the end of 1971 when an American patient wanted to listen to Coventry City football matches and found out that this wasn’t possible. When he got out of the hospital he set up a trust fund which paid for landlines which connected the hospital to the Sky Blues old ground of Highfield Road prior to their move to the Ricoh Arena in 2005.
It was soon realised that the network used for broadcasting these games could also be used for a hospital radio curcuit. This was the begining and in 1972 hospital radio in Coventry was established.
In the early 70s the station was known as Walsgrave Radio.
In 1980 the radio joined the hospitals Voluntary Organisation and the name of the station changed to Coventry Hospitals Broadcasting Service.
Many members soon joined, and a veriety of programmes were soon winging there way to patients in numerous hospitals in Coventry.
During the 1980s when local radio stations were springing up, there were a steady stream of volunteers eager to learn the skills of broadcasting so they could apply for jobs within these stations.
Some of our past volunteers include:
Jeff Harris – Went on to Mercia Sound and then became Programmer/Presenter at Radio FAB FM. Sadly Jeff passed away in 2018.
Jim Lee – Left us and went on to Mercia Sound, then to BBC CWR, he is now freelance journalist who sometimes works as a continuity announcer on BBC4 and BBC7.
Sara Blizzard – Also went on to Mercia Sound, starting as a sales person and ending up presenting her own show when Mercia’s station controler Stuart Linnell gave her a chance. She can now be seen regularly as a weather presenter on BBC Midlands Today.
Jenny Costello – Trained with us and later went on to present a show on Radio 1. She then moved on to become a presenter on internet radio station Soid Gold Gem.
Kevin Reide – Went on to become a newsreader and reporter for BBC Midlands Today.
Barnie Choudury – Barnie volunteered with us during the early 80s. From then he became a trainee at BBC and went on to become Social affairs Corrispondant.
2003 saw the introduction of a 24 hour broadcasting system and the use of new software packages, this enabled us to broadcast direct from a computer to the patients. This system also made it quicker to find patients requests since most of our CD music was held on the database.
In July 2006 a brand new hospital was opened and we moved out of a broom cupboard in the basement in to a state of the art radio studio which broadcasts to around 1200 bedside units.
In 2014 Coventry Hospital Radio as it’s now known started broadcasting online via it’s own website ‘coventryhospitalradio.org’ as well as throughout University Hospital Coventry.
CHR currently has 37 volunteers, 30 of which broadcast live shows playing a great range of music, most of which we receive via request.