The Very Beginning
The Swansea Hospitals Radio service was founded on 1st August 1966 by Robert Rees, David Vaughan and Clive Thomas - three school friends who had been watching a television programme on radio in hospitals run by voluntary groups.
In November 1966, the hospital authority accepted proposals for their own station, and the service was launched at Morriston Hospital on a three month trial basis. Initially, because of accommodation difficulties, broadcasts were restricted to only four hours on Saturdays and Sundays. The first programme was recorded in a member's bedroom and went out on New Year's Eve, 1966. Soon, broadcasts extended to all day at weekends with classical, light, jazz and pop music as well as a Welsh language programme.
A New Studio
In 1968 a new studio at Singleton Hospital was opened which later became Radio City's base. The station at Morriston became a separate organisation, known as Radio LF. Expansion followed with Mount Pleasant, Hill House, Cefn Coed, Gorseinon and Garngoch Hospitals all receiving Radio City's programmes. The hospitals were linked using a network of telephone landlines, all of which became very expensive to maintain.
Over time as the health board evolved, broadcasts were consolidated to the now much-expanded Singleton Hospital. In 1991 the old prefabricated studios, by now extremely dilapidated, were closed and broadcasts moved to new purpose-built facilities within a new wing of the hospital. £10,000 was raised to fit out a first studio to broadcast standard and later a second was added as an editing/production facility.
Modern Radio City
Nowadays, Radio City broadcasts 24 hours a day, every day of the year from its studios near the Maternity Department in Singleton Hospital. Various live programs are scheduled throughout the week, and an automation service continues playing the wide selection of music at all other times.
In 2009 the station began broadcasting on 1386AM, and in 2015 Radio City began streaming over the Internet to the station's own app and TuneIn. These new ways to listen reduce patient reliance on headphones purchased in the wards, and improve access to the service.
Radio City is dedicated to continuing and improving the service that it provides; we have great ideas in the pipeline.