Concept

Hospital radio

Summary
Hospital radio is a form of audio broadcasting produced specifically for the in-patients of hospitals, primarily in the United Kingdom. Hospital radio has been found to be beneficial to patients, lifting their mood and aiding recovery. There are hundreds of hospital radio stations in the UK, almost all are members of the Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA), which was set up by stations for their mutual benefit and does not govern or run them. Hospital radio stations are staffed and managed by volunteers. The earliest known hospital radio station officially commenced operation in the Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington, D.C., in May 1919. It was originally planned for installation in 1918 at the American "Base Hospital near Paris"; no evidence has come to light that it was set up there, so it is assumed that the First World War ended before this had been completed and that it was instead installed at Walter Reed. The first in the United Kingdom was installed at York County Hospital, England, in 1925. Headphones were provided beside 200 beds, and 70 loudspeakers were installed, with patients being able to listen to sports commentaries and church services. Throughout the 1930s radio stations began operating in a handful of other hospitals, with live music supplementing the speech-based programmes. Unsurprisingly, almost no new stations were started during World War II, the sole exception being on Jersey where a service was set up to relay church services, musical recitals, variety shows, and programmes for children to nine hospitals after wireless receivers had been banned and confiscated by the German occupying authorities. The spread of hospital radio services picked up slowly in the late 1940s. The 1950s saw a rapid growth in their number in the UK, with similar stations opening in Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States. Many stations now played gramophone music to patients and, with the launch of the cassette tape in 1963, it became easy for presenters to record their programmes for playback at a later date.
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