Durham Hospitals Radio is a registered charity (No.516714). Its is staffed by volunteers and is entirely self-supporting. The station broadcasts 24/7 to the patients of the University Hospital of North Durham.
How it all began…
Durham Hospitals Radio was formed in the 1960s by our honorary president Alex Smith.
The station has come along way since the early days. Indeed, when its was established DHR was simply a record player on a trolley, which was trundled around the wards. Requests were played at the listeners’ bedsides.
It quickly became clear that there was a demand for the service and the next step in the stations evolution was to broadcast from a small room.
Because this wasn’t particularly amenable for broadcasting, the old Porter’s Lodge at the entrance of the old Dryburn Hospital was converted into a broadcasting studio.
A four hour request programme was transmitted to all wards every Wednesday evening and live commentary of football matches were broadcast every Saturday afternoon.
As the station grew more volunteers were recruited and transmissions (mainly request shows) became a daily feature of hospital life although they tended to be confined to evenings when people were available to present programmes.
The Lodge was extended to accommodate a second studio as the station continued to grow and new equipment was installed to make productions less labour-intensive.
We moved to our new studios in the management suite when the new hospital building was completed early in the 21st century.
One of the major relationships we have is with Hospedia, the company that provides the bedside consoles that gives patients access to radio, TV and telephone facilities to patients. Hospedia have installed a direct telephone link from the bedside consoles to our studios which allows listeners to get in touch free of charge. They’ve also provided on-screen information advising patients how to call and how to listen as well as a DHR advertisement.
In 2007 we installed a new computer system which allows us to broadcast 24-hours a day and provide information about the numerous services and facilities within the hospital.