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1993 Our Presenting Stars and Backstage Information

Radio Heatherwood Backstage 1993

Whilst there was a very public side to the promotion of the radio service behind the scenes a number of other events and changes were taking place to the working practices of the presenters.

1993 Stars Gallery

Some captured moments of our volunteers,during this year.

Our Stars of 1993

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Crown Exemption(The Bad News)

The following story appeared in the staff news letter from November 1993. It's implications remained until closedown in 2016, it cost the station a lot funds over the years.

In April 1991 all hospitals lost their crown exemption status which meant they now could be prosecuted in a civil court. The inductive loop radio system when installed benefited from crown immunity in that we didn't pay a full licence fee and didn't have to comply with all the aspects of the radio licence.

The recent correspondence generated between hospital radio's and the radio authority has made them aware of this change, subsequently they have decided to impose a licence fee and impose full compliance with the requirements of the inductive loop licence.:-

1)As from the 1st January a licence fee of £225 to be paid each year.

2)All output to be recorded for the station and kept for a minimum of six weeks( Inc. sustaining service( 24 hr's a day ).

On our behalf Nahbo and Wireless workshop have been negotiating with the radio authority to reduce the recorded output; to the transmitted output generated by the station and not the sustaining service. They have agreed to this, saying only speech and adverts need be kept. It was the intention of the radio authority to backdate the licence fee till April 1991. Strong representations to them over the issue has prevented them imposing this but all stations will have to comply with the new fee from 1st January.

To set this up we will have to change the way we operate and the cost of this will add a bill of £700/800 to the running costs for next year. We have very little time left to set this up and changes which will be required will be notified to each presenter with training for team leaders on our legal obligations in the coming weeks.

A video recorder will be installed in the studio recording audio only at long play, which will give us six hours on an E180. The tapes will be rotated over the six week period.

PJ.November 1993

1993 Year Seventeen Story Unfolds

1993 was a very busy year for the station management and as the year unfolded there was much to do and organise

For further information about this year:- Follow the links

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Nahbo Article 1993

The following article was published in the nahbo magazine this year:-

Star Trek Three( The Search for a Loan Radio )

“Oh No, not another Trekie story”

It could well be, have you ever tried to find a bed head radio working complete with a headset.? ( “There is life Jim, but not as we know it ” )

In 1988, Radio Heatherwood installed the inductive loop system at Heatherwood Hospital. In the past we have written updates on our experiences we are now five years on and how have things changed.

So you want to install inductive loop, or FM and offer, a loan radio service !.

This update centre's on the provision of loan radios for patients. The first provision of personal radio's, ten in all, were purchased from Dixons, these were marked with yellow paint ; they cost just under £10 and were FM/AM. We installed these in our ward 10 which had no bed head radio at all. The batteries for these, could be obtained from the trolley shops and replacements were left to the visitors relatives etc.

The outcome from provision of these: we don't have any left; all but one were pinched systematically.

The next step was to purchase twenty radios from Tandy called flavour radios we opted for the yellow ones. These are AM radio's with headphones using PP3 batteries. This time we removed the tuning control and the front of the radio had a non removable plaque attached stating, who had sponsored the unit. Since 1990 these units have grown on the wards and experience has dictated special modifications to these units. We made changes in the way, we collect requests on the wards as well.

Current Mods to Radios

Tuning Knob Removed ( Discourage the removal of the radio )

Sponsor plaque on front ( Encourage further sponsors )

Headphone jack changed and cable secured to unit( Discourage headphones from being pinched )

Battery compartment lid secured with cord( prevent loss after continued opening )

Luminous Able label sticker ( Details of where batteries are obtained plus what to do if the unit appears faulty ).

Ward Rounds

A new set of guidelines is now in place to all presenters when on the wards. The obvious change we now carry the batteries with us: Current charge £1 for a PP3( Red Seal ) this gives us a profit of 8p per unit. We don, t plan to make profit, on the sale of batteries, in fact we allow each night to give away, three freebies to needy cases in a three week period. The current state of battery sales is thirty a month supporting ninety units on the wards.

On ward rounds; one presenter will check the empty lockers have a radio, if they do they check to make sure the battery is OK if not, remove the battery. The same presenter will be in charge of sales of batteries and the tuning in of personal radio's bought in by patients. Any faulty radios will be removed from the ward and will be repaired by our loan radio manager ( Scottie ) “ There's life Jim in the radio but not as we know it ”.

In the early days we would leave the radios in a box in the store room on the trial wards. This was OK but patients would sit all day and vegetate not knowing the service was there, to be used all day. Cheap batteries would leak in the radios and this would cause much damage. The new red seal are better but cannot be left in a radio for a long time after it has run out. Radios are left in the lockers and are regularly checked.

Patients do bring in their own radios but the quantity at present, is still only a small percentage.

It's not always possible to cover all the wards with loan radios in a night, so a dial a battery jingle is broadcast. Selling the loan radio service is an art and to persuade the patient to buy the batteries requires training. The best time to sell the battery is when there are visitors round the bed.

Other changes for the loan radio service is the posters on wards where there are loan radios, plus regular announcements, regarding batteries, faulty units, sponsorship, etc.


We advertise, for the donation of £10: a unit will be place on the ward with your name. Thirty-eight units have been sponsored from patient's relatives, twenty-four units by presenters, and the balance by the League of Friends.


The units do fail and we do have to repair them for various reasons, the costs currently incurred; come nowhere near the cost of repairing or replacing plastic headsets for the bed head units.

The future

The loan radio service is here to stay: by the end of the summer this year we would have provided a unit for every bed on five wards. The success of the sponsorship has dictated the pace of introduction ( 145 units ).


If you thought, providing a loan radio on the wards would be easy; it isn't!.Much time and effort does go into providing the service, the rewards that can be obtained says it all.The success of the loan radio service depends on the commitment from everyone including the nursing staff. As like all ideas that come along this one has its floors, but we must weigh them against no service at all. Installing Inductive loop or Fm: will improve the service on the wards: but it will still frustrate patients at not having a radio freely at hand. Look at providing some kind of Loan Radio Service as well

The proposed introduction of Fm will put demands on stations' volunteers in areas that were never contemplated. Loan radio's will play a very big part in the future of stations: are you ready to take the challenge?

This article dedicated to the hard work of our presenters and our Loan Radio man without which Heatherwood would be a poorer place.

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And in the End

1993 The year started on a high and new successes in the early part of the year have been overshadowed by the usual staff migration at the end of the year and also the bad news about our licence requirements which will add to the running costs for many years to come.

We have been lucky to secure some very important donations in the last month and this provides us with the morale booster I'm sure we all need.

We had planned this year to revise the Station ID on the jingle front with a new style on CD but the surprise over the licence has delayed this until funds, become available.

The new year will see another Sweethearts ball, a charity stall at Bracknell market in March and all the usual events from the Radio Heatherwood Supporters Group. Next year will also see the Tenth Grand Draw and we will be looking to make this a very special Grand Draw with hopefully more prizes than this year.

P. J. Davidson-Smith Secretary December 1993

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Archive Gems

Just some extra's we found:-

1993 That Was The Year That Was!

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