Bay Trust Radio has a great history, here we tell the story from the very beginning to today. Bay Trust Radio was originally called Kendal Hospital Radio, which was later changed to Kendal Hospital’s Radio.
The Very Start December – 1976
A meeting was organised and a Committee was formed and Mr. Jim Bownass 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 today. The accommodation was provided by Westmorland County Hospital Board and KHR was up and running.
Sunday 6th February – 1977
The first broadcast was made and presented by Jim Bownass 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.
Kendal Hospital’s Radio – 1985
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.
Westmorland General Hospital Opens – 1991
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.
January – 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 its first fundraising scheme to enable them to replace all the equipment and included 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 NHS. 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 LP. or CD. 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. Around this time, the first outside broadcast was recorded at the Torch Light Procession and replayed to the patients later in the evening. Live broadcasting was very difficult to do and costly at that time, but the listeners were happy they didn’t miss the Procession.
January – 2003
Some of the presenters were invited to Lakeland Radio to present programs from their studios 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 we could place all our music on a computer database and receive national & international news from Sky plus the latest weather forecast for the region. Again it was necessary to embark on a fundraising 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 we held raffles and ‘Bag Packing’ sessions at ASDA Stores, Kendal.
November – 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. We upgraded this software to Version 3 being the first radio station in the North West to do so. During a 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 PPL (Phonographic Performance License). We also have Sky News which comes via our satellite dish on the hour and we also have a news capture facility to obtain the latest news by the minute. Also, this system will replace our schedules should something serious happen. For the technically minded all the music we play is converted to compressed .wav files.
December – 2004
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 program to present especially during the football season because scores are coming in all the time from all over the country via our News 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 two studios, Studio 1 is the main broadcasting studio and Studio 2 is used as the production studio although we can also broadcast from this studio as well – mainly Saturday morning and afternoon.
November – 2007
We were asked by The Morecambe Bay NHS Trust if it would be possible to broadcast programs to The Royal Lancaster Infirmary in addition to Westmorland General Hospital. We couldn’t refuse this offer and with some help from the NHS Trust.
February – 2008
After 3 months of planning, we commenced broadcasting to the two hospitals 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. And with the help from the Westmorland Hospital League of Friends, Cumbria Community Foundation and many other sponsors we finished a refurbished of the station a project that had taken 6 years. Experience has also proved that having purchased all this new technology, we cannot afford to stand still.
November – 2011
We purchased a Cisco IP Telephone system which cost £847.00 with help from the WRVS (Tea Bar).
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 station’s 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
Was a great start to the year for Bay Trust Radio as we moved from standard broadband which we were getting 2.5mbps to the fibre optic broadband giving us over 40mbps, which has enabled us to do more outside broadcasts. We have also purchased two iPads, which help in recording and producing interviews and local news for the listener. The iPads were possible from a grant from The Cumbria Community Foundation on behalf of Holehird Trust Windermere.
July – 2013
We were successful in obtaining a grant from the big lottery fund of £8,707 which made it possible for us to purchase a Comrex Access complete with studio rack mount. This equipment allowed us to do more live outside broadcasting using 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection from any location.
January – 2014
Bay Trust Radio continued ahead with more plans for the future. We had our Comrex Access delivered and set up the new equipment in our main studio, then planning more outside broadcasts using this sophisticated technology.
March – 2014
Bay Trust Radio presented many outside broadcasts; including from Morecambe seafront, Lancaster Royal Infirmary, Bowness-in-Windermere and from Kendal town centre during Mintfest and Torchlight Carnival. We also had a lot of work carried out on our website, creating a fresh and clear station website with more content and a new radio player. We also introduced a listen again feature for shows, making it possible to catch up to shows on the station after they have been broadcast. It was during 2014 that the station had another upgrade with computers. We were able to upgrade to the most up-to-date version of the Myriad Suite from P Squared; including playout, scheduling and a chance to replace our ‘Scoop’ news programs with Myriad News. This was made possible by obtaining a grant from the Hospital League of Friends. All of these came with new features to make it easier for volunteers to use and create even better radio programmes for our listeners!
October – 2016
We were successful in obtaining a grant from the Big Lottery Fund of £9,472 to replace our broadcasting mixer in studio 1 we have purchased the Axia iQ 8 Main Frame Mixer, Axia QOR.16 Integrated Console Engine, Axia Analogue xNode, Axia Audio IP Drivers this is the most advanced technology and has made a massive improvement to our output.
January – 2017
We had a refresh of the radio stations website bring it more up to date and a lot more information for our visitors.
February – 2017
We were successful in obtaining a grant from the Westmorland Hospital League of Friends of £6,800 and a donation of £1,300 from Brava Building Services and Mitsubishi to replace our broadcasting mixer in studio 2 we have purchased the Axia iQ 8 Main Frame Mixer, Axia QOR.16 Integrated Console Engine, Axia Audio IP Drivers and a Sonifex Silence Detector. We also updated our servers to make sure that we had the very latest software.
August – 2017
With the help of Brava Building Services and Mitsubishi, an air conditioning unit has been installed in studio 2 making our studio complex fully air-conditioned.
September – 2017
A new station logo was designed in-house for our website, letterheads and station signage.
And with the support of Wiltshire Farm Foods and Hayes Garden World of Ambleside who have sponsored our new corporate wear.
October – 2017
Air conditioning installed in studio 2 supplied by Mitsubishi and installed by Brava Ltd at no charge to Bay Trust Radio.
December – 2017
A brand new station website was launched.
The office at Bay Trust Radio has been refurbished which was agreed to do during the Christmas holidays the cost of the refurbishment was achieved from money raised by our members and at no cost to the NHS.
October – 2018
Radio Victoria, Blackpool was merged with Bay Trust Radio to make one of the largest hospital radio stations in the North West.
November – 2018
Upgraded the server at our Kendal HQ to a more powerful Dell Poweredge.
March – 2019
Fibre Broadband Installed at our Blackpool Studio.
June – 2019
Winners of the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.
August – 2020
High Sheriff of Cumbria Special Recognition Award – John Williamson, President.
The Cumberland 100 Thank Yous Award.
September – 2020
Installed 2 x Microsoft Surface Tablets in Kendal Studios.
January – 2021
Myriad Playout V4 Software upgraded to the most sophisticated Myriad V5 playout this will allow all our presenters to do shows from home-based studios and making sure we are following the coronavirus government guidelines. This has been the largest investment the charity has undertaken especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and it was made possible from grants gained during 2020 and many months of hard work taken by the station management to get the project completed on time and on budget.
December – 2021
After four years of planning Bay Trust Radio began broadcasting on DAB+ across Morecambe Bay with thanks to NHS Together and our own fundraising.