Hospital Radio Kendal History

In December 1976, a meeting was organised and a Committee was formed and Mr. Jim Bowness was elected the first Chairman of Kendal Hospital Radio.
Patients, relatives, friends etc. all donated records and The Hospital League of Friends helped with funding to purchase equipment as they still do to-day.
Accommodation was provided Westmorland County Hospital Board and KHR was up and running.

On Sunday 6th February 1977 the first broadcast was made and presented by Jim Bowness and from our archives we have found that this broadcast attracted 60 dedications (requests) and 22 tracks of music were played. Also included in this show was an interview with Daphne Cunningham – Matron at Westmorland County Hospital at this time. This show continued once a week on a Sunday at 8.15pm.

This Sunday programme went from strength to strength and it didn’t take long before an Inter Ward quiz was included in the programme and a cup was presented by a local firm ‘The Phillip Bank’s Quiz Trophy’ and recently this trophy was located in Ward 7 in Westmorland General Hospital. Also an Epilogue was included at the end of the show.
Kendal Hospital Radio continued to go from strength to strength and was soon broadcasting for 2 hours each evening including Saturday & Sunday.

The records show that in 1985 they had 47 members.
It was during this period Kendal Hospital Radio became a registered charity with the Charities Commission and changed its name to Kendal Hospital’s Radio. Why! Well I am sure you will all remember Kendal Green and Meathop Hospitals who by this time had been aware of the existence of Kendal Hospital Radio and its popularity at the County Hospital and they wanted a part of this Hospital Radio. Technology during this period was very limited for small broadcasting stations like KHR who were trying to include these two hospitals in the system. However, they overcame the problem with a simple idea – record the programme on a cassette tape and deliver the cassette tape to the hospital’s the following morning and broadcast the programme in the afternoon usually after visiting time!

By 1990 KHR had something like 20,000 tracks of music which you can imagine was an absolute nightmare on a ‘Card Index’ system.

The next major change came in 1991 when Westmorland General Hospital was opened, a new studio was provided on Level 2 and the existing equipment was transferred from Westmorland County Hospital and KHR was back in business.

By 1993 the record library had grown to 30,000 tracks of music which was larger than many commercial stations, but the equipment was becoming very unreliable especially mainly caused by turntable & tape deck failures.

The decision was made to embark on it’s first fund raising scheme to enable them to replace all the equipment and include a mixing desk into the studio for the first time.

The Hospital League of Friends came to the rescue once again along with many other local organisation’s plus events organised by KHR and £10,000 was raised which allowed them to purchase a Mixing Desk, 2 Turntables and a Cassette Deck. Also the N.H.S. provided a computer to enable KHR to computerise the record library. Each track was numbered and this made it easy to locate a track of music and each L.P. or C.D. was given a reference number. Also the computer would locate music by ‘Artist’. At this time an appeal was put out for more volunteers who would provide cover for 2 hours live programs 7 days a week.
Also at this time the first outside broadcast was recorded at the Torch Light Procession and replayed to the patients later in the evening. With today’s technology we can now broadcast this event ‘Live’ from the town center and we have done so from Stricklandgate House and the Town Hall.

By the year 2000 technology was moving at a very fast pace and in 2003 some of the presenters were invited to Lakeland Radio to present programs from their studio’s on a Tuesday & Thursday Evening’s and it was during this period we became involved with ‘Computer Play-out’ systems.
This experience gave us the idea that we could have this system at KHR.
With technical help from the Hospital Broadcasting Association we established that by having a certain computer package and receive information from a satellite transmission we could place all our music on a computer data base and receive national & international news from SKY plus the latest weather forecast for this region.

Again it was necessary to embark on a fund raising appeal but this time we required a further £12.000! This appeal was given a tremendous boost when we were successful in obtaining an award from the Local Lottery Fund – ‘Awards for All’ for £5,000. Once again the Hospital League of Friends came to our aid and the WRVS (Tea Bar) plus many local business people and also we held raffles and ‘Bag Packing’ sessions at ASDA Stores, Kendal.

By 2004 we were really experienced in presenting computerise programs and then the Station Manager decided to upgrade our software and some of the equipment. We obtained new software called ‘Myriad’ from a company called P Squared of Hull which supplies many of the national and local radio stations with this type of equipment. Recently we upgraded this software to Version 3 being the first radio station in the North West to do so. During a recent visit Nigel Dyson from Radio Cumbria admitted that our equipment is much better than Radio Cumbria and most local commercial stations. However, you must remember that we are a voluntary organisation we obtain most of the computer software very much cheaper than commercial Radio Stations. This applies also to the charge levied by P.P.L. (Phonographic Performance License).
We also have SKY news which comes via our satellite dish on the hour and we also have a ‘scoop capture’ facility to obtain the latest news by the minute. Also this system will replace our schedules should something serious happen i.e. Death of the Queen.

For the technically minded all the music we play is converted to compressed wav. Files

From 2 hours a night live broadcasts we now broadcast programs 24 hours per day 7 days a week which includes Comedy Hour, In Concert, Golden Years, A – Z of Pop and the Sunday Service at 1.45pm. Each Sunday. Also we have the facility to ‘voice track’ programs.

The Saturday afternoon Sports Programme is probably the most difficult programme to present especially during the football season because scores are coming in all the time from all over the country via our ‘Scoop System’. We can also broadcast reports direct from all the major football stadiums.

Also with this system of broadcasting we can now broadcast local events live direct to Westmorland General Hospital, we have already covered Holker Hall Garden Festival and of course the Torchlight Procession.

To produce quality programs we are very lucky at Westmorland General Hospital in having 2 Studio’s, Studio 1 is the main broadcasting studio and Studio 2 is used as the production studio although you can also broadcast from this studio as well – mainly Saturday morning and afternoon.

In November 2007 we were asked by The Morecambe Bay NHS.trust if it would be possible to broadcast programs to The Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital Barrow in addition to Westmorland General Hospital. We couldn’t refuse this offer and with some help from the N.H.S. Trust we commenced broadcasting to the three Hospitals’ in February 2008 and that’s when we changed our name to Bay Trust Radio.

All this success comes at a price; we require approximately £3,000 – £4,000 per year to continue to provide our service. This money is raised by BTR through our sponsorship scheme we have with local shops and businesses and also raffles, bag packing sessions at ASDA Stores, Kendal.

With help from the Westmorland Hospital League of Friends, Cumbria Community Foundation and many other sponsors we have recently finished a refurbished of the station a project that has taken 6 years.

Experience has also proved that having purchased all this new technology, we cannot afford to stand still. In 2011 we purchased a Cisco IP Telephone system which cost £847.00 with help from the WRVS (tea Bar).

And in December 2012 we moved from our old servers which had served us well to the latest Apple mac mini servers and a lacie hard drive where we now have all of the stations music stored this is needed for a busy radio station this was made possible by a grant from the hospital league of friends.

January 2013 a great start to the year for Bay Trust Radio as we moved from standard broadband which we was getting 2.5mbps to the fibre optic broadband giving us over 40mbps this will enable us to do more outside broadcasts. Also we have now purchase two iPads this will help in doing interviews and more local news for the listener. The iPads have been possible from a grant from The Cumbria Community Foundation on behalf of Holehurd Trust Windermere.

In July 2013 we were successful in obtaining a grant from the big lottery fund of £8,707 this will be used to purchase Comrex access this equipment will allow us to do more live outside broadcasting using 3g 4g Wi-Fi from any location.