Many Hospital Broadcasting Association Member Stations have continued to bring light entertainment and vital information to patients and communities during the Coronavirus pandemic, but not in their usual studio surroundings. Like most of the UK who were told to work from home, member stations from around the country also heeded that advice and began setting up their volunteers with the equipment required to host programmes live from their living rooms, kitchens and even gardens (weather permitting)! Hospital Radio Bedford share their story with us, on how they've adapted and continue to broadcast 65 hours of live programming a week from home.
Despite their hospital-based studios being in ‘shutdown’ since 23rd March, Hospital Radio Bedford (HRB) volunteers have continued to broadcast a vibrant weekly schedule to the patients and staff of Bedford hospital and everyone in the local community throughout the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic.
After amassing all the spare broadcasting equipment they could lay their hands on (thanks in no small measure to good friends at the local Beat Route Radio station based in Rushden) within a few days of the start of the national lockdown HRB had three presenters broadcasting live from temporary studios set-up in their homes.
Commenting on the technology used to broadcast, Membership Officer, Ian Griffiths, said: ‘We’ve adapted the tried and tested ‘cleanfeed’ approach used in our Outside Broadcasts to suit the set-up each presenter has at home. This has enabled us to organise an extremely effective and flexible method of live broadcasting across the internet that’s on a par with many of the national broadcasters, technically.’
Fellow volunteer and morning show presenter, Geoff White, praised the efforts further: ‘The technical bods at the station have made the whole process of home broadcasting quite straightforward really and are very supportive to those who need it. What’s more, I get to present my show from my garden dressed in my pyjamas, so everyone’s a winner.’
Over sixteen weeks on, and continuing to fulfil its remit of promoting health and wellbeing, Hospital Radio Bedford now has fifteen presenters broadcasting over 65 hours of live shows every week - including a new weekday community service programme, The HRB CSi Show – from spare bedrooms, dining room tables and gardens across the town.
‘I’m very proud of the effort HRB volunteers put into organising themselves after the studios were closed to ensure that we continued to broadcast to the hospital and the local community throughout the period of lockdown.’ Said Promotions Officer, Andy Norbury.
And with their studios remaining in ‘shutdown’ for the foreseeable future, the volunteers at Hospital Radio Bedford are all set to continue this effort by bolstering their weekly schedule with even more live shows.
‘I’m confident that not only the quality but also the sheer quantity of live programmes and the technology used to broadcast them has put Hospital Radio Bedford at the very forefront of both hospital and community broadcasting.’ HRB Chairman, Geoff Clark, remarked.
HRB Secretary, Laura Taylor, summed up the volunteer effort. ‘From the very start of the lockdown our mantra has been ‘the shows must go on’ and I’m pleased to say, they have.’