A HOSPITAL radio service that has been in operation for over 40 years has been forced to go off the air.
Choice Hospital Radio, which broadcasts to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, had its last day on the air today (27 December).
The station posted a message on its Facebook site saying: “So after 46 years of broadcasting at Worcester Royal Hospital, Choice Radio closes today.
“Thank you to everyone who has worked hard to keep the station running.”
The station blamed not having a studio after being released from the hospital during the pandemic and a dwindling number of volunteers to keep things running.
The station said: “Unfortunately, after our studio was lost in hospital last year, no other options were found and we have a dwindling number of volunteers to keep things running.
“Thank you all for your support and efforts during such a difficult time. We hope we have provided a valuable service to patients, residents and the local community.
“Good luck to our presenters as they embark on their own broadcast journeys.
“I wish you a positive 2023 and remember ‘take it easy, this was Choice’.”
As we reported in June, the station had an uncertain future as anchors broadcast from their homes during the pandemic.
Choice Hospital Radio was looking for a new home after being broadcast at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester since the 1980s.
The volunteers said that their kit was dismantled without their knowledge and put away.
The radio station was moved around the hospital many times as the hospital expanded and the number of patients increased.
At one time the radio station even operated out of a shed, and eventually a new studio was built on the Aconbury unit in 2002.
With work underway on the new A&E unit in the Aconbury building, the radio station was ‘evacuated by the hospital during the pandemic’.
Volunteer presenters adapted to home broadcasting to keep the station running and ensure live shows during the week, which was “a lifesaver during the Covid restrictions”.
The hospital suggested that a new radio studio would be developed within the A&E expansion with the hospital’s main reception featured as a potential base to help meet new audiences.
However, two years later, the station still had no new studio and nowhere to go.
Choice Radio president Rob Mace said in June: “We were hoping to get patients back involved after the pandemic and get back on wards and welcome new members to Choice.
“Instead, our members continue to operate from home and have left us a redundant part of the hospital’s development.
“Choice Radio is part of the local community and we want to work with health services to promote wellness.”
Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said at the time: “We are committed to working together to find a solution and continue our long-standing relationship.”