Hospital radio in Coventry first originated in 1971 when an American patient wanted to listen to Coventry City football matches and found out that it wasn't possible. When he got out of the hospital he set up a trust fund which paid for the landlines to connect the hospital to the Sky Blues old home ground of Highfield Road. All home matches were then broadcast Until the move from Highfield Road to the Ricoh Arena in 2005.
It was soon realised that the network used for broadcasting the games could also be used for a hospital radio circuit. This was the begining and in 1972 Hospital Radio in Coventry was established. In the early 1970’s the station was known as Walsgrave Radio.
In 1980 the radio joined the Hospitals Voluntary Organisation and the name changed to Coventry Hospitals Broadcasting Service.
Many members soon joined, and a veriety of programmes were soon winging their way to patients in the numerous hospitals in Coventry. During the1980’s 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.
Some of our Past volunteers Include:
Jeff Harris - Went on to Mercia Sound and then to become Programmer/Presenter at Radio FAB FM. Sadly Jeff passed away in 2018.
Jim Lee - Left us and also went on to Mercia Sound, then to BBC CWR and is now a 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 controller, 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 station Solid 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 1980’s. From then he became a trainee at BBC and went on to become Social Affairs Corrispondant.
2003 saw the indroduction 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 a patients request since most of our CD music is now held on the database.
In July 2006 a brand new hospital was opened and we moved out of a broom cupboard in the basement into a state of the art radio studio which broadcasts to about 1200 beds through bedside units.
In 2014 Coventry Hospital Radio as it’s now known started broadcasting online via it’s own website www.coventryhospitalradio.org as well as throughout Coventry University Hospital.
CHR currently has 37 volunteers, 30 of which have regular shows playing a mixture of Jazz, blues, Rock, Pop, World Music, Oldies and the music of today along with loads of requests for the patients.
We are now based on the 5th floor of the hospital. Our phone number for enquiries is 024 7696 8252. For requests call *800 from the bedside unit or 024 7696 8298 from an outside line.
The Coventry Hospital Radio Team