Queen Elizabeth Hospital radio celebration marks 50 years

News Shopper

First published Monday 9 May 2011 in The News Shopper News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by Mark Chandler, deputy news editor


VOLUNTEERS at a radio station have marked 50 years on the airwaves with a marathon three-day broadcast.

Meridian Radio plays to the patients of Woolwich’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital and celebrated its landmark anniversary with three days of live programming – the most it has ever put out.

Always on the lookout for presenters, the staff currently includes a wide range of people, including breakfast host Dave Berry, who has been there for 40 years.

Manager Alan King has been at the station since 1977 when he began work as a presenter after six weeks’ training. News Shopper: Alan King

Mr King said: “Our youngest member is in their early 20s and our oldest is a 75-year-old present called Ronnie Rogers.

 

“We’ve just had a phonecall from a professional wrestler who wants to join us.

“Sometimes people come in and it’s like a duck taking to water.”

The charity, which has its roots in the Brook and Memorial Hospitals on Shooters Hill and is funded through a £15 membership fee, started out with tapes being played to patients in the wards.

Now Meridian is in its fourth studio – a far cry from the old Memorial operating theatre, which Mr King describes as “spooky”.

News Shopper: Agnes Victoria Mack, 92, listens in It currently broadcasts every day from the Queen Elizabeth’s conference centre, and it has ambitions to start broadcasting to other hospitals too.

Mostly playing a mixture of music from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, there is also a half-hour broadcast of comedy each day. And the station now has a weekly news discussion programmes called In The Meantime which gets put out over the internet as a podcast.

Mr King said: “We get a lot of requests for Sinatra, the Ratpack, easy listening.

“People in hospital often use our service as a background to help them relax.”

If you are interested in joining the station, email meridianradio@hotmail.com or visit meridianradio.moonfruit.com.

HOSPITAL SONGS

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Bypass – The Beatles

Don’t Stand So Colostomy – The Police

The Logical Song – Bupatramp

911 Is a Joke – Public Enema

The First Cut Is The Deepest – Cat Stevens

The Drugs Don’t Work – The Verve

Everytime You Go Away (You Take A Piece of Me With You) – Paul Young

Smells Like Surgical Spirit – Nirvana