During 1971, a group of radio enthusiasts got together to discuss an idea to provide a radio service to hospital patients in and around Stafford.
They discussed the idea with local Hospitals, their local MP and Businesses in order to gauge opinion and support. Having sourced some basic equipment and found premises, Hospital Radio Stafford began broadcasting on 17 January 1972 from St.George’s Hospital, Stafford, for a few hours a day.
Sir Hugh Fraser ( at the time MP for Stafford & Stone ) was most helpful and very supportive and in recognition of this, his wife Lady Antonia Fraser ( actress and writer ) became HRS’s first President.
Around the same time, one of the founder members had a connection with Irish singer Dana who was invited to be Patron of HRS and she accepted. This particular member also had his own radio show called ‘All kinds of everything “ after Dana’s Eurovision winning entry of 1970.
Over the following years more volunteers joined and the station grew in popularity and activities increased, and after enquiring about larger premises, eventually relocated in 1978 to its present location within the grounds of County Hospital, Stafford. To mark the occasion, TV personality Chris Tarrant opened the new Studios.
Gradually, broadcasting time increased and HRS eventually commenced 24 hour broadcasting using a combination of ‘live’, pre-recorded and computer generated programmes.
The station currently broadcasts into Cannock Chase Hospital, County Hospital Stafford; Royal Stoke University Hospital and Katharine House Hospice, Stafford. The programme schedule changes every 3 months, always trying to introduce new programmes and features to meet the needs of our ever changing listening audience. We presently broadcast 37 hours a week of ‘live’ programmes.
The station celebrated by holding a continuous 50 hour broadcasting marathon in January.
Money raised from this event and others during this special year will provide funding to upgrade one of our Studios – The Armand Chatfield Studio, named after our longest serving broadcaster. Armand, who is a Life Vice President of HRS broadcast his first ‘live’ programme ( Art – and All that Jazz ) on 19 January 1972 and recently repeated the same show, 50 years later. A great achievement, and one that the station is very proud of.
The stations Patron, Dana Rosemary Scallon commented:
My congratulations to all in Hospital Radio Stafford on this wonderful 50th anniversary of bringing enjoyment and support to so many people at a difficult time in their lives.
This wonderful achievement could not have happened without the generosity of the men and women who have volunteered their time and talent throughout these past fifty years.
I am both delighted and humbled to be a Patron of this outstanding hospital radio station.
Long may you continue to bring happiness to so many people. I wish you All Kinds of Everything good for the coming years.
Picture: Hospital Radio Stafford's longest serving presenter, Armand Chatfield.