History of Bedrock Radio
Bedrock Radio has a heritage spanning back almost 60 years! A wonderfully rich history of serving the healthy community!
Today Bedrock Radio has a broader outreach, broadcasting across multiple hospitals and NHS Trusts, allowing us to provide a community radio service with an underlying chartable objective of improving the health and wellbeing of local people across East London & South Essex and the immediate surrounding areas.
Early Days of Hospital Radio in Havering.
Hospital Radio in East London / South Essex started off as separate Hospital Radio Stations, covering multiple hospitals.
The station became known as Harold Wood Radio, where the secretary of Harold Wood Hospital gave the station use of rooms located in a underused recreation hall, with cables run from the hall to the wards.
As the station grew and become more established it became ‘Harold Wood Hospital Radio’ (HWHR), the station continued provided programmes to Warley Hospital, Brentwood and later Victoria Cottage Hospital in Petits Lane, Romford, Former HWHR Volunteers recall that that Noel Edmonds was involved with producing radio programmes at the Old Victoria Cottage Hospital. All these sites where served until the late 1980s, when they where repurposed and the programmes no longer required.
Harold Wood Radio closed in 2002
On 7th April 1969 Radio Rush Green , was founded by Brian Lister, with studios located in the porters lodge on the grounds of Rush Green Hospital on Dagenham Road.
Patients tuned into Radio Rush Green through a common wired ward system, with patients headphones into jack points in the wall, with a dial, where a green dot on the patients bedside controls highlighting the exact position to listen to Radio Rush Green, The instructions for patients was named the “The Green Dot Code”.
The service broadcast a range of programs and featured local news updates, plus a regular Sunday request show.
Radio Rush Green closed on 19th October 1985, to from Hospital Radio 174 which broadcast to both Oldchurch and Rush Green Hospitals.
In 1985 permission was given from the Rush Green hospital managers to link the radio service from Radio Rush Green to the neighbouring Oldchurch Hospital.
Hospital Radio 174 launched on 20th October 1985, replacing Radio Rush Green serving two hospital. The studios remained at the Porters Lodge at Rush Green Hospital, this was achieved using a telephone landline to connect to the bedside radio system at Oldchurch.
The station takes is unusual name ‘Hospital Radio 174′ after the bus route that served both Rush Green and Oldchurch (The 174 still runs today), the name as jokingly suggested by the Rush Green Hospital administrator, with the radio volunteers deciding to adopt it as the stations official name, after asking London Transport if that was okay, with North Street Bus Garage loaning a decorated bus on the radio service launch which ran between the two hospitals.
In the mid 80s, Radio 174 twinned with Krankenhausfunk, Witten (Germany) with visits taking place between volunteers of both hospital radio services to learn more about each others services. The visits started as part of Barking and Dagenham councils town twinning arrangements with Witten , which is now one of the oldest town twinning arrangements.
In 1989 Radio 174 was informed that Rush Green Hospital was to close in the 90s, the station relocated from Rush Green to Oldchurch Hospital moving into The Nurses Home at Oldchurch Hospital. in 1993, the service began broadcasting form it’s new home, with Brian Lister, founder of Radio Rush Green as the special guest to open the new studios, along with sponsors. With Radio 174 continuing to broadcast to Oldchurch Hospital.
Hospital Radio 174 closed at the end of 1996, to form Oldchurch Radio.
At Oldchruch Hospital, a sort of radio service of sorts when the late Reverend Norman ‘broadcast’ services from the hospital chapel, the service known as “Station O“, It’s not clear when the Station O began it’s broadcasts, however the service ceased in 1980 when the reverend retired.
In 1996 volunteers of Hospital Radio 174 agreed to close and reopen the service as Oldchurch Radio, following the closure of Rush Green Hospital.
Oldchurch Radio retained the Radio 174 studios and launched on 846 AM service across Oldchurch Hospital, using induction loop transmitter, which broadcasting on 846kHz across the hospital grounds, This allowed the station to broadcast a low power AM signal, which covered most of the hospital, especially as most of the patient headset system broke down.
(It was soon discovered the flats overlooking the hospital where able to listen in & often contacted the studio).
The advantage is that any AM radio in the hospital could be tuned into Oldchurch Radio.
Oldchurch Radio closed in 2002.
2002 - Formation Of Bedrock.
Bedrock was created as a result of a merger, in preparation of the opening of a new hospital.
In 2000 the NHS Trust who operated both Oldchurch & Harold Wood Hospitals wanted a single radio station to serve both hospitals, until the completion of the new Queen’s Hospital in 2006.
After much negotiating regarding studio location, site transmission links & setting up a new association, the members of both Oldchurch & Harold Wood Hospital Radio came together creating Bedrock.
Making it a new registered charity on 22nd June 2002.
The newly formed Bedrock used the former Oldchurch Radio facilities, broadcasting on 846AM (induction loop) to Oldchurch Hospital with a direct link to Harold Wood Hospital, broadcasting on channels one and two on the bedside radio system. With the first programmes being broadcast on December 1st 2002 and the station being known as Bedrock AM.
Bedrock AM – 2002 – 2006
2006 - Moving Into Queen's Hospital.
In 2006 broadcasting ceased at Oldchurch Hospital as the newly built Queen’s Hospital opened. The Hospital Trust provided us with three rooms, giving us a studio, office & storeroom in the aptly named ‘Hospital Radio Corridor’.
Bedrock ceased broadcasting at Oldchurch Hospital as we had to move out of the nursing block, forcing us off-air as our new studios where being constructed and wired up. Our Volunteers began digitising the extensive vinyl collection, creating a large digital library for our new computer playout system.
During the studio build, Bedrock was being plugged into the patient bedside TV systems, run by Premier Telesolutions, with hospital radio being channel one as part of the limited free entertainment offered.
By 2009 the new studio & Premier were operational and programmes commenced broadcasting at Queen’s Hospital.
2009: Royal Opening – ‘The Cornwall Suite’ Studio.
Re-Launch of Bedrock Hospital Radio.
To celebrate our new studios and to re-launch Bedrock Hospital Radio broadcasting from our new home at Queen’s Hospital.
Our studio was officially opened by HRH Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla on January 22, 2009.
HRH Camilla made a song request of ABBA’s – Mamma Mia, before visiting the Coral ward to hear her song request & visit patients.
In honour of our royal opening, the studio has been named “The Cornwall Suite”.
A whole host of volunteers past & present where invited to celebrate the re-launch Bedrock. We are very proud of this moment, we even made national press coverage.
On Air at Queen's Hospital
Bedrock had not fully returned to 24/7 programming by the time we came back on-air in 2009, due to limitations of the IT infrastructure installed & volunteers still building the music database, our sustaining service was provided by local radio station Time FM.
Trustees quickly invested in an alternative play-out software that could run it’s own sustaining service, once again making Bedrock fully independent and a 24 hour service, ending the reliance on using Time FM (This decision was fast-tracked due to feedback from patients about the type of content Time FM began broadcasting overnights). Our new software capable of being used in live or automated modes.
We had a lot of work to rebuild our name from the three years off-air.
A new jingle package was introduced as Bedrock dropping the AM suffix (following the sale of the AM Induction loop transmitter) and needed to re-identify ourselves with our commitment to patient entertainment as ‘Your Friendly Station’ and mentioning about our request collectors and how to get in touch with the studio.
Bedrock Station IDs 2009 – 2016 Jingles
During 2011 the phrase ‘Your Friendly Station, Your Friendly Choice’ as it starting to sound very tired and a little cheesy, the phrase had served it’s purpose and helped rebuild our profile within the Queen’s Hospital, it was phased out by the end of that year.
To realign the station in order to compete with the other mainstream stations on offer from the Premier Telesolutions system, we refocused our on-air phrase was ‘Timeless Classics & Requests’ getting more to the point of what we do.
2012 - Celebrating 10 years of Bedrock.
During 2012, we celebrated 10 years of Bedrock.
As a birthday present the Trustees planned a modernisation project to ageing IT equipment, and equipment that moved with us. With a projected cost of up-to £10,000 being spent on new software, mixers and IT equipment to be upgraded over the next five years. Using money acquired from fundraising events and grants.
2012 to 2013 we started the upgrades on our studio facilities with more advance software and powerful hardware.
Our I.T network received an upgrade too with more up-to-date hardware and software to help future proof the station with additional servers & workstations, allowing our files and music to be stored more securely. Plus the extra workstations enable our volunteers to produce more on-air content and develop features.
As part of the major upgrade Bedrock invested in new industry standard broadcast software, Myriad as our main system, which is flexible enough to find requested songs and powerful enough to select music that we know patients like to hear.
2014 - 50 years of Hospital Radio in Havering.
Celebrating our heritage and expanding our coverage.
2014 we celebrate 50 years of Hospital Radio in Havering, thanking volunteers past and present for years of helping keep patients entertained in our local hospitals & reflecting at the changes, from early days of providing just a few hours of entertainment a day to a full 24/7 broadcasting service from all our founding stations.
To mark the 50th anniversary of Hospital Radio in Havering, we launched our live web-stream allowing staff, out-patients & relatives of patients in Hospital in the local area to listen online or via their smartphones.
Bedrock volunteers where joined by the Mayor of Havering on Sunday 16th February to mark the milestone and launch the new ‘listen live‘ service.
We listed Bedrock Hospital Radio on services such as TuneIn so patients & the community could listen from launch.
2015 - Bedside TV System Breakdown - Queen's Hospital
In 2015 the Premier Telesolutions bedside system suffered massive decline in working bedside TV units, leading to patients paying for TV’s that didn’t work, or where missing altogether. Bedrock reported concerns to the Hospital Trust as many wards didn’t have working Bedside TVs, resulting in the Hospital Trust and Premier terminating their contracts.
By Summer 2017 All Premier Telesolutions TV equipment had been declared defunct & was removed.
The Trust installed a self-funded trial TV system, that would be free to patients, contain limited channels & have Bedrock as the first ‘channel’. The trial system was installed in the paediatrics (Tropical Ward) & operated on the same network as TVs already installed across waiting rooms in the hospital.
NHS WiFi has been deployed across Queen’s & King George Hospitals as replacement alternative.
2016 - Goodmayes Hospital Radio (The Jumbo Sound) Merger.
In March 2016 Bedrock acquired our neighbouring station Jumbo Sound.
The Jumbo Sound
Goodmayes Hospital Radio Association (GHR) broadcasting as ‘The Jumbo Sound’
approached Bedrock in regards to a merger.
Jumbo Sound: History of Goodmayes Hospital Radio
Hospital Radio at Goodmayes started in 1975, officially registering with the charity Commission as The Goodmayes Hospital Radio Association (GHR) in 1977, broadcasting to the patients of Goodmayes Hospital. The stations remit included: informing, including and entertaining patients.
When neighbouring King George Hospital opened in 1993 Goodmayes Hospital Radio extended its reach to serve the then new site.
In 2004 Goodmayes Hospital Radio changed its on-air name to The Jumbo Sound (which curiously later became name of the radio station in Holby City!) On June 25, 2006 The Jumbo Sound began broadcasting on the internet as a new means of reaching the somewhat disbanded audience. Additionally, the station launched its new blue and red logo ahead of the big 30th anniversary celebrations. The anniversary was celebrated with special programmes, guest’s appearances by old volunteers.
Towards the end of 2007 The Jumbo Sound moved studios from the original upstairs location on ‘The Bridge’ to a downstairs location offering more space and better disabled access. In 2008 NELFT, awarded Goodmayes Hospital Radio a generous grant to update their broadcasting equipment in the new room. Sadly, upon moving studios the link to King George Hospital was lost, but the station remained broadcasting to Goodmayes Hospital and online.
Jumbo Sound Station IDs 2007 – 2016
President of Goodmayes Hospital Radio.
Barry Cryer OBE was the president for Jumbo Sound. He was a writer, comedian and actor staring on stage, radio and television. The 80-year old has appeared in ‘Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’. Barry offered to host a special one-off fundraising gig for Jumbo Sound when the studios where water damaged. However, plans where already underway to merge the station.
We where sad to hear of Barry’s passing in January 2022.
Jumbo Sound: 40 Years of Goodmayes Hospital Radio & Merger.
Throughout 2015, Goodmayes Hospital Radio Association celebrated its 40th anniversary, with the Mayor of Redbridge visiting the studios along with new and old volunteers. In November 2015 the studio suffered major equipment damage following a radiator bursting and its subsequent humidity forcing the station off-air.
While insurers evaluated the cost of the damaged equipment, the remaining volunteers discussed the future of the station. Following volunteer numbers and income dwindling, the remaining members voted to close merging with Bedrock Radio to continue the station’s legacy.
As of April 2016 the remaining volunteers of The Jumbo Sound came over to Bedrock with service being restored to Goodmayes Hospital in the form providing a relay of the programmes from Queen’s Hospital while the Goodmayes Studio undergo refurbishment.
In June 2016, the refurbishment was complete with the first live shows broadcast from the Goodmayes Studio in eight months as ‘Bedrock Radio, Goodmayes’.
2016 - Bedrock Radio Expands
Continuing the service at Goodmayes and upgrading our studios.
As a result of the merger with Goodmayes Hospital Radio (The Jumbo Sound) in 2016, equipment and resources needed to be relocated and changes made to accommodate the extra station.
Resulting in both studios; Queen’s Hospital & Goodmayes hospital studios undergoing refurbishment.
It was decided that the studio at Queen’s Hospital would remain as the focal point of Bedrock, with the Goodmayes Hospital studio being a secondary studio, due to most live programmes coming from Queen’s it was decided the larger Sonifex S2 mixer from Goodmayes would be relocated to Queen’s subsequently a smaller Sonifex S0 Mixer from Queen’s be installed at Goodmayes.
We consulted with Broadcast Radio to find the best way of networking our studios and to also order our new furniture for our mixing desks. Our most cost effective and resourceful way of operating is by networking the two studio sites together using our playout software Myriad.
Bringing both Queen’s and Goodmayes studios together to share the same automation service and share selected programmes from our main studio at Queen’s Hospital, which is then relayed and broadcast to Goodmayes Hospital.
(This is similar practice to what larger stations like Heart, Capital and BBC do, but on a much smaller scale)
Our studio at Goodmayes has the capacity for localised live programmes to be broadcast specifically from the Goodmayes Studio, while a separate show is broadcast from Queen’s.
The studios have both received a repaint, along with new bespoke furniture, making the facilities appear very fresh & modern.
To adapt to our wider audience following the Goodmayes merger, Bedrock dropped ‘For Havering’ from our logo. Now identifying as a ‘Community Health & Hospital Radio’ station.
On-air we refer to the station as Bedrock Radio with a new slogan ‘Your Healthy Music Mix’
which forms part of our new on-air jingle package, along with some hospital specific sweepers for the networked sites.
Bedrock Radio Station IDs 2016 – Present Jingles
In June 2016 as part of the merger and studio rebuilds, Bedrock Radio launched our very own mobile app, thanks to the team at AudioSpace.
Many people now own a smartphone or a tablet device, we have witnessed many patients, visitors and staff bringing their personal devices into hospital to keep them connected to the outside world.
NHS Digital outlined a plan to roll out ‘NHS Wi-Fi’ across majority of NHS locations across the UK over the next few years in order “to provide a secure, stable, and reliable WiFi capability, across all NHS settings. It will allow patients and the public browse the internet and access health and care information.”
Bedrock Radio launched our free mobile app, to encourage patients to listen via the Free Wi-Fi available across the hospitals, especially in locations such as Queen’s and King George Hospital where there is no longer a dedicated Bedside TV systems installed..
2017 - Great Memories, Classic Hits. Bedrock GOLD
As a result of our expansion, we launch a new radio station.
Bedrock Radio launches Bedrock GOLD
Great Memories, Classic Hits. Bedrock GOLD
Playing a mixture of Classic Hits from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s
for the social inclusion of older persons across the community
Bedrock GOLD was developed from survey results from patients music tastes and request slips over the course of three years.
Our results showed a diverse range of music that matches the age ranges across the hospitals we serve. With requests from Sam Smith to Frank Sinatra, Adele to Vera Lynn.
Our survey also highlighted massive jumps between the music decades was making it hard to retain listeners, the results showed while some of us prefer listening to great time oldies from the 50s 60s and 70s. Others wanted 80s, 90s 00s, 2010s and today’s chart.
With little crossover between the eras, with listeners saying they would “turn off” if too much of the other was played.
In 2016, during the creation of the Bedrock Radio Network, we made the bold decision to start splitting our station up and create a second channel that caters towards our older audience, and those who love the music from yesteryear!
Spring 2017; Great Memories, Classic Hits, Bedrock GOLD was softly launched appearing first in our mobile app, but soon spreading to services such as TuneIn & other online directories for the social inclusion of older persons across the wider health community.
Bedrock GOLD is mostly a continuous jukebox with a selection of presented evening programmes. The station focuses on music from the 40s to the 80s.
Great Memories, Classic Hits, Bedrock GOLD
Features in the Bedrock Radio app, on smart speakers and online at gold.bedrock.radio
Bedrock GOLD Station IDs 2016 – Present
2018 - Changes in Charity & Studios.
We change status to CIO & say goodbye to our studio at Goodmayes.
As of October 2018 we were successful in registering a new charitable incorporated organisation (known as a CIO) with the Charity Commission. This modern charity format allows for more flexibility in our operations, and essentially makes our new charity, Bedrock Radio, similar to that of a company limited by guarantee.
Formally, we will be merging the old charity into the new one, which resulted in closing our old unincorporated association charity Bedrock (1094330) and we are operating as Charitable Incorporated Organisation Bedrock Radio (118076)
Formally our name goes from Bedrock to Bedrock Radio.
Read our Formal Notice: Change of struture and status
We where informed that the old hospital building at Goodmayes was slowly being emptied and we would need to vacate in order for old building to be closed.
As of December 2019 we have closed the former Jumbo Sound studios at Goodmayes Hospital. NELFT have worked closely with us to try and relocate our studio, with a view to remaining on the hospital site. Sadly other critical departments are required to stay on site and there is no spare room to rehome our studio.
Bedrock Radio continues to serve patients & staff of Goodmayes Hospital plus the wider NELFT service. However all programming is now be relayed from our main studio at Queen’s Hospital. only a studio link remains on-site connecting our studio to the wards. Our request collectors continue to visit the wards regularly.
2019 to 2022 - Bedrock WiFi - "The RockBox"
Increasing our coverage, using a WiFi radio system.
In 2019 we began drawing up plans in a view to developing a solution to restore patient entertainment back to the wards of Queen’s Hospital, Romford. Re-utilising the dormant cabling from the defunct paid TV System.
Working with local companies & Patient Experience at BHR Hospitals we’re developing a solution that intuitive by design, ensuring ease of use for patients & staff.
In 2019 we purchased to small tablets that run the Bedrock Radio App of which we deployed on two wards to test our WiFi concept, sadly the Coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020.
We found from the tablets a bespoke WiFi radio solution would be a better option.
The most important aspect of our radio project is to be inclusive, allowing all patients to listen across Queen’s Hospital, regardless if they own a smart device.
We want our RockBox radios to be simple with clear instructions for all to use.
In 2020 we secured a Grant from the National Lottery, backed by the Government to fund our WiFi Radio project
We purchased relevant network equipment to make full use of the dormant patient entertainment cabling across Queen’s Hospital, to create a private WiFi network that plays only our hospital radio services.
To test get new system we have purchased eight WiFi radios that we will deploy onto the wards to get patients listening.
We will have our Hospital Radio operational by early June to
co-inside with Bedrock’s 20th Anniversary and the HM The Queen’s Jubilee.
We still plan to build our own Wi-Fi Radios (“RockBoxes”) sadly the global electronic parts shortage has delayed our building of these as we’re unable to source the microcomputers, we’ve also taken the opportunity to redesign the box to make our design simpler.
Whipps Cross Hospital Radio
WXHR ceased broadcasting at the end of 2022,
Bedrock Radio replaced WXHR at the start of 2023.
WHXR: History of Whipps Cross Hospital Radio
Walthamstow Lions Club established a permanent hospital radio service at Whipps Cross in 1969.
The studio was set up in a converted shed on the hospital grounds, next to the restaurant, with six volunteers to broadcast for just three hours on a Sunday evening. The station was effectively run on behalf of and sponsored by the Walthamstow Lions Club, with the full formal title of Walthamstow Lions Whipps Cross Hospital Radio.
This was soon shortened to Walthamstow Lions Hospital Radio or more commonly Whipps Cross Hospital Radio (WXHR)
In the 70s a short nightly local news programmes began in association with the Waltham Forest Guardian, in 1971 the programme ran three nights a week with support from the local paper.
Also in 1971 the very first ‘Down Your Ward‘ programme began with patients chatting to presenters using a cassette recorder. Later in 1978 presenters used the phone trolley to put patients live to the studio. This was upgraded to a wireless radio mic system that allowed request teams through the 80s until closure, to broadcast live from the wards in real-time.
In July 1978 WXHR began serving Chingford Hospital and Wanstead Hospital, in 1979 the station was broadcasting 40 hours a week across the three hospitals. Then in 1980 an outside broadcast line was connected to Orient Football Club for commentary on Saturday Afternoons funded by the club itself.
A major change came in 1982, after negotiations with Walthamstow Lions Club, to make Whipps Cross Hospital Radio a separate registered charity in its own right and no longer being run by the Lions.
In 1988 WXHR was offered a new home under D Block, known as ‘The Animal House’. Where a four studio suite, with an office, library and technical area was created, the studios where completed in 1991 and became the permeant home of WXHR.
In the Summer of 1998 the station took out it’s first one-month restricted service transmitter licence (RSL), broadcasting on 87.7FM during the summer of 1998, the signal reached from Chingford to Tower Bridge with the event coinciding in with 50th anniversary of the NHS.
Then again in 1999 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of WXHR another one-week RSL was broadcast in August celebrating the range of programmes offered by the radio station.
In 2004 a bedside TV system launched at Whipps Cross, operated by PatientLine (in 2008 it was taken over by Hospedia) adding Whipps Cross to over 440 beds across the hospital, the TV reported number of hours listened where in June 2004 WXHR achieved 9174 total hours – the third most used service on the system.
In 2014 Hospedia (previously PatientLine) published listening figures from the bedside TV consoles. WXHR recorded 72% of all patients listening at Whipps Cross Hospital, making WXHR the second most listened to Hospital Radio service in the UK, and figures also showed a weekly average of over 5600 listeners making average the forth highest in the UK (when compared with figures from other hospitals using the same system).
Unit for unit, WXHR was the most listened to station, with patients listening for long periods in hospital.
In 2015 WXHR began broadcasting online targeting the wider health community allowing for outpatients and relatives of patients to listen. In 2018, the Hospedia contact with the Trust ended and the units where decommissioned out of service. The hospital moved onto a new WiFi system from NHS Digital.
The NHS WiFi provides a Trust wide system available across all five hospitals under Bart’s Health Trust, with WXHR being listed as patient entertainment under the ‘Hospital Radio’ button.
WHXR celebrated 50 years broadcasting in 2019, with a celebratory lunch for past and present members with a reflection on the stations history. 2020 bought confirmed that a new Whipps Cross Hospital (Future Whipps) is to be built and expected to being serving patients by late 2026.
The combination of the new hospital, changes in listenership and the need to modernise resulted in volunteers at WXHR voting to wind down the service by closing in December 2022. The last live programme was broadcast on the Sunday 25th September 2022, with the station in automation until closure in December 2022.
Whipps Cross Makes The Switch To Great Memories and Classic Hits.
Bedrock Radio has been working with Whipps Cross Hospital Radio and have agreed to step in and continue providing a hospital radio service as WXHR closed.
Bedrock GOLD has replaced WHXR on the speakers along the corridors and waiting areas arround Whipps Cross Hospital.
Being open and transparent with our future plans.
Bedrock Radio will be launching on DAB+ Digital Radio across East London and South Essex in 2024
- Continue to work with BHR Hospitals on volunteer recruitment and rollout of our our Ward Radios.
- Update Bedside listening at King George Hospital (Ilford).
- Continue to build relationships with NELFT and seek to expand across their local clinics.
- Upgrade ward speaker system at Goodmayes Hospital (Ilford).
- Continue to support & collaborate with other Hospital Radio stations locally, sharing knowledge and resources.
- Encourage larger charities and companies to work with / sponsor Bedrock Radio.
- Expand our services providing a unified Community Health / Hospital Radio service across East London, South Essex and immediate local areas, targeting key NHS Trusts.
- Encourage small local health & well-being charities to work with us to promote their causes.
- Encourage and develop relationships with local business to generate sponsorship and advertising leads. Plus general support of Bedrock Radio.