Hospital radio stations given access to BBC bulletins

All hospital radio stations in the UK are being offered free access to BBC bulletins and other local content during the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as the broadcaster announced that 3,000 local bulletins a week were already available to community stations across England.

Around 75 of these largely volunteer-led stations have been taking BBC Local Radio content. More than 75 hospital stations will now follow suit, getting access to bulletins, interviews, special programmes and whole shows from BBC Local Radio.

Two commercial stations are also taking BBC content.

Chris Burns, head of Local Radio for the BBC, said: “Having accurate local news and trusted information has perhaps never been more vital for those in hospital. Local Radio is about companionship and our 39 stations are with you all day, every day.

“When representatives from hospital radio stations came to us about sharing bulletins and other content we jumped at the chance to support them, as we know what they offer is hugely valued by their listeners.”

Community stations such as Source FM, Derby Sound, Seahaven FM and Radio Winchcombe are taking content from their local BBC stations.

Now stations like Chorley Hospital Radio, Chichester Hospital Radio and York Hospital Radio will too. The BBC has been working with the Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA) to make this possible.

Graham Medhurst, vice chairman of the HBA, said: “The HBA is today delighted to reveal the alliance with BBC Local Radio as one of many support measures for member stations during the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation.

“The HBA are immensely proud of the way that member organisations, right across the UK, have adapted to new ways of delivering the vital health and wellbeing service relied upon by patients, staff and wider communities.

“It has been encouraging to see the increased use of technology, remote broadcasting, streaming and opportunities such as this to ensure that broadcasting continues.”

Of the 75 community stations signed up to the scheme, 18 are taking non-English language content from the BBC World Service in Service in Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Bengali and Urdu.