Search

Hospital radio station celebrates 50 years of broadcasting in Havering

18:00 22 February 2014

Mayor Eric Munday launches Bedrock radio online. He requested Old Black Magic by jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.

Mayor Eric Munday launches Bedrock radio online. He requested Old Black Magic by jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.

Archant

After lifting the moods of patients for half a century, a hospital radio station has celebrated its birthday by launching a new online web-stream.

Bev Stroud (third left) and Mat Watson (far right) with mayor, Cllr Eric Munday and volunteers.Bev Stroud (third left) and Mat Watson (far right) with mayor, Cllr Eric Munday and volunteers.

Bedrock, a 24/7 station based at Queen’s Hospital, is part of the borough’s rich history in the radio format - which started way back in 1964.

And what better way to symbolise the technological changes in broadcasting than to make the station available to outpatients and families via the internet?

To find out more about the history - and future - of hospital radio in Havering, the Recorder spoke to chairman Mat Watson, 23, and its longest serving volunteer, Bev Stroud, 48, following the weekend celebration.

“The station was started by an amateur film group,” explained Bev, “the first show was broadcast on February 14, 1964.”

The Harold Wood Radio team on a promotional float in 1979.The Harold Wood Radio team on a promotional float in 1979.

“Back then it was called Harold Wood Hospital Radio and the shows were pre-recorded. By the late 70s it was an official charity run by volunteers.”

In those days, the station provided shows for Warley Hospital in Brentwood and Victoria Hospital in Romford.

Meanwhile, Oldchurch Hospital in Romford, had its own station, Radio Rush Green, which then became Radio 174, and finally Oldchurch Radio.

In 2002, the stations merged to create Bedrock, in time for its move to the new Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford in 2006.

Camilla at the station.Camilla at the station.

Bev, who has overseen the switch from vinyl to the modern-day computerised “drag and drop” method, says it is much easier to present a show now.

“There has been a lot of change equipment wise. With the vinyl you had to make sure the needle was in the right place so it didn’t create unwanted noise. “Now you just drop a song onto the computer playlist and click play.”

But the process of deciding which songs get played has remained constant.

“We have a team who go out and take requests from the patients,” said Mat, who has been at the station for eight years.

“Now and then you get some very strange requests, we’ve had Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, The Animals’ We Gotta Get Out of This Place and The Verve’s The Drugs Don’t Work.

“But the strangest one I can remember was Brain Damage by Pink Floyd. The patients like to have a bit of a laugh with it.”

With a database of between 4-5,000 songs, Mat says it is rare that the requests are not met, but if so, the team will ensure the track is acquired.

With specialist shows including country and easy-listening, as well as a chart show for the children’s ward patients, bedside radios are often tuned in to the station.

“Back in the day we had to send a team round and give out radios to the patients,” said Bev.

“But they used to get nicked” added Mat.

Nowadays, the team of 30 volunteers range from 15-years-old to 83 - and the team are hoping to branch out, with King George Hospital apparently keen on airing the shows.

As for funding, the station is entirely run on donations, and the team can often be found broadcasting from school fetes or shopping centres to raise money.

But in the short term, Mat says the aim is the same as ever.

“We want to continue to help patients,” he said, “and get the station recognised a bit more. The webstream will allow more people to listen.”

To listen live, visit bedrockradio.org.uk.

0 comments

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 17:05
Leah who is part of the young people group at Havering Mind

The Recorder has launched a major mental health awareness campaign with charity Havering Mind, which will run throughout 2016. Through Mind Your Mental Health we aim to break down the stigma that persists and share advice for analysing and improving the wellbeing of our community. This week Emma Lake finds out how mentors can help young people

Yesterday, 17:00
Havering Mind's Live a better life programme, at, Harrow Lodge House, Hornchurch

Vanessa Bennett

It is estimated that in any given year 20 per cent of children will suffer from a mental health problem.

Yesterday, 14:00
The Recorder is running a competition where readers can win five family tickets to the London Aquarium

Up for grabs this week are five family tickets for one of the capital’s most popular attractions – the London Aquarium.

Yesterday, 12:01
Copper Box arena school dance championship, Abbs Cross Academy

Dancers have been celebrating walking away from a London-wide championship with two awards.

Yesterday, 07:00
Council is set to increase by 3.99 per cent

Residents face a bigger council tax bill after a 3.99 per cent increase was given approval on Wednesday.

Fri, 16:13
The team cross the finish line in Antigua. Picture: Ben Duffy

The first hurricane to hit the Atlantic in January since 1938 couldn’t stop four daredevils joining the elite group of people to row across it.

Fri, 13:09
The map shows the net increase of new businesses, which have opened in 2015 by areas. These figures take into account the number of businesses, which closed in the same year.

As new companies are launched around the borough, Romford continues to attract most of Havering’s start-up activity.

Fri, 10:21
Jon Hill outside Buckinham Palace after receiving his CBE. Photo: Jon Hill

When a loved one dies families can take comfort in having a body to bury and grieve over, but for decades the relatives of Northern Ireland’s “disappeared” have not.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Champagne experience

This Valentine’s Day, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the perfect destination for lovebirds, offering a range of romantic experiences from Friday 12th February - Sunday 14th February 2016.

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe