Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hospital Radio

Although hospital radio exists almost exclusively in the United Kingdom, the first known hospital station was set up at Washington, DC's Walter Reed Medical Center in 1919.

(courtesy of Shorpy)

In the 1980s there were over 350 hospital radio stations operating in the UK.  Budget cuts, lack of space and other entertainment options such as laptops, iPods and portable DVD players dropped that number to about 200 today.  Hospital broadcasting has been a training ground for many presenters and DJs including Chris Moyles formerly of BBC Radio 1 and Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2.
The only hospital radio station I could find in the United States was Radio Lollipop, a British-based charitable organization that has outlets at children's hospitals in Miami, Houston and Orange, California.

Takin' Over the Asylum is a six-part television drama about a hospital radio station.  The 1994 series was produced by BBC Scotland and takes place at a fictional Glasgow psychiatric hospital called St. Jude's Asylum.  The entire thing can be seen on YouTube.  Episode One, Part One is below.

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