What a week it’s been. After months of planning, including nearly reverting to our Plan B, Radio Cherwell have celebrated 50 years of hospital radio in Oxford with a 50hr marathon.

The marathon idea was simple. Live programmes for 10 hours a day, across 5 days, in the main public areas of each of the hospital sites we serve. 10×5= 50. That’s 50 hours of live programming for fifty years of Radio Cherwell.

I just wanted to share with you what happened “behind the scenes” throughout the week, or at least from what I can remember.

Ian Interviews former X Factor ContestantThroughout the week, We spoke to dozens of patients, gave away handfuls of prizes and even had a choir perform one evening, a former X Factor contestant one afternoon and all unplanned of course. That’s the best kind of radio. (Well, the X Factor contestant was unplanned…)

It was great to spread the name of Radio Cherwell and promote the service we provide to patients, staff and visitors alike. We gained a lot of interest from everyone across the hospitals and locations we were broadcasting from, including the John Radcliffe Hospital Main Reception; Nuffield Orthopaedic Atrium; West Wing Atrium and the Churchill Hospital Main Reception.

And it was at the Churchill where I found it was my day to host ten hours of live radio. Starting at 12noon until 10pm, with no idea what, or who, would walk through the doors. It was ten hours of 80s, 90s and 00s, including a bunch of today’s hits. We managed to speak to some new registrars before they headed off to clinic; a volunteer at the help desk; staff at the hospital clothes shop and of course, patients and visitors, who told us about their experiences of the Trust we serve, all of which was positive.

I’ll be honest, ten hours on your feet isn’t the best, and when I was offered a Pizza Hut, I wasn’t going to turn that down! But it was the hard work of those working behind the scenes and our members who just turned up to support which made it all possible.

And what made it worthwhile? Knowing that we have been a friend at the bedside for the past fifty years and have made a difference to thousands upon thousands of patients over that time. Hospital radio does make a real difference to a patients care in hospital, the HBA conducted a study to prove it too. Take a look, here.

As for the next fifty years, we at Radio Cherwell will ultimately have to adapt to the changing situation with patient entertainment systems in hospitals; advances in technology and of course the ever changing ways in which the NHS operates. But we’ll still be there, for the thousands upon thousands of patients our Trust treat each year, for the staff who want to spread the word about their services and goodwill and ultimately, we’ll still be the friend at that bedside.

Happy Fiftieth Birthday Radio Cherwell. You don’t look a day over twenty one.


Ian Pinnell

Ian Pinnell is an award winning broadcaster & creative from Oxfordshire. He currently serves as a Trustee for two charities, and Publicity Officer for Radio Cherwell, hospital radio in Oxford.

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