Beloved hospital radio station signals for help from public

SUPPORT: From left,  presenter Mark Blackford, Alistair Chisholm, president of Ridgeway Radio, presenter John Shepherd and Debbie Cummins from Cummins Accounts and Tax Advisors

SUPPORT: From left, presenter Mark Blackford, Alistair Chisholm, president of Ridgeway Radio, presenter John Shepherd and Debbie Cummins from Cummins Accounts and Tax Advisors

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

A CHERISHED hospital radio station that has been running for nearly half a century is looking for some support from the public.

Ridgeway Radio at Dorset County Hospital has launched an appeal for new equipment to help it to continue to provide its popular programmes.

The radio station grew out of Dorset Hospital Radio, which was founded 48 years ago and three of the original founders and presenters are still with the station.

Ridgeway Radio provides ‘bed head’ radio 24 hours a day at the Dorchester hospital through its team of around 20 presenters and programme makers.

Out of the seven radio stations on offer to hospital patients free of charge, Ridgeway Radio is the most popular.

The station is now looking for a bit of support of another kind as it looks to update its equipments.

The station is in desperate need of new computers to replaced its outdated and tired models that are no longer fit for purpose.

The appeal was launched by Dorchester town crier Alistair Chisholm, who has recently agreed to become Ridgeway Radio’s first ever president.

He was joined live on air for the launch by Debbie Cummins of Cummins and Co accountants and tax advisors in Poundbury.

Cummins and Co have generously donated one of the five computers that the station needs, providing a great boost to the start of the fundraising.

The computers have to be specially made because off-the-shelf computers are over-specified in some areas and under-specified in others for radio use, although the bespoke models are made locally at around the same cost.

Presenter of the Ridgeway Magazine and head of fundraising at the station, John Shepherd, said the computers cost around £400 each and the appeal is looking to raise around £2,500 in total to cover the costs of other items and equipment as well.

He said: “Our source of funding over the years is no longer viable so we are having to find the money ourselves.”

He added: “Our ambition is to use the new technology afforded by the computers to make Ridgeway Radio available through the internet in response to the request ‘can we hear you outside the hospital?’”

Ridgeway Radio’s output includes a regular schedule of programmes made by young presenters for children in the Kingfisher Ward, outside broadcasts, sports reports, gardening tips, current affairs, magazine programmes, church services, concerts and recitals and music requests.

The station’s slogan is to bring the outside world into hospital.

Anyone interested in supporting the appeal is asked to email johnjohn shep@btinternet.com or call 01305 816236.

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