Hospital radio volunteers have told how they refused to let the pandemic silence their popular shows.
Now, more than ever, hospital radio is bringing cheer to the wards but Covid-19 has meant presenters being forced to swap the studio for the sofa while working from home, including volunteers at Hospital Broadcasting Service, in Glasgow.
The service, broadcasting daily to the Beatson, Gartnavel, Queen Elizabeth University and Royal Alexandra hospitals, has continued to provide regular programming, including dedicated messages and musical tributes.
Presenters may be unable to visit patients in hospital, but HBS chairman Niall Anderson said they have found innovative ways to keep the hits coming.
He said: “While it would be easy during the lockdown restrictions to step back and say we aren’t able to provide a service, the team have found new ways to continue broadcasting including the nightly live request shows.
“Our biggest issue has been how to let patients know about the the service while we are unable to physically visit the wards but again the team has been figuring out ways to achieve this. I’m really proud of everyone and the work they have been putting in to keep us on-air.”
The station, which runs entirely on donations, broadcasts 24 hours daily with volunteers presenting a variety of shows.
Ross Turnbull, who presents a request show on Wednesday evenings said: “At the moment with the world being turned on its head, hospital radio is more important than ever. Patients can’t be visited by loved ones so hopefully the friendly voices on hospital radio can bridge some of that gap.
“Working from home initially for myself was a challenge, not just because it was a new working environment but it means I’m also a lot closer to the biscuit tin than I’d like!”
Robert Craw, who has been presenting various shows for HBS for five years, said although working from home has been a challenge, it is just as worthwhile for volunteers.
He added: “Getting to grips with the technology and software has been a major learning curve for me, but being able to continue to bring live entertainment to patients and listeners is a real pleasure.
“The Covid-19 pandemic meant patients have not been allowed visitors. Because of this, HBS can be a lifeline for patients, as well as family and friends who can text or email HBS to request a song or make a dedication for the patient.
“For patients, just hearing your name or a special piece of music can do so much to raise morale, bring back memories and connect with loved ones.”
For more information on how to donate, volunteer, or stream shows from the Hospital Broadcasting Service, visit www.hbs.org.uk/