The studios have grown from the original 6ft x 8ft wooden garden shed in 1969 to a 3-studio, basement complex by 1991. This has now been developed into a sophisticated broadcast area with two ex-BBC self-operated transmission desks, a talks/live music area, an editing channel, an office/kitchen and an engineering workshop.
Facilities have progressed from vinyl records and cassette tapes, through CDs, DATs and minidiscs to all digital systems. These days we use a British digital playout system called Myriad. The Myriad software is able to handle full automation as well as assisting the presenters with a database of thousands of songs, jingles, trailers, interviews and features. It is an easy to learn and use system and greatly helps the smooth presentation of programmes and the instant access to patient requests.
It integrates the hourly bulletins from Sky News and with a little assistance is virtually able to ‘run’ the station. However, we never forget that patient requests are the most important songs we ever play and our requests shows are the most important programmes.
We use a radio microphone system which enables us to involve patients live in the wards in our request programmes. And our systems are not just confined to the hospital grounds. We have a very clever box which allows us to bring high quality football commentaries from local grounds over the normal telephone lines. We also have a PA system and handle the sound at local fetes and events which helps to raise funds for the station.
The technical team keeps the station on air installing and repairing equipment as well as making the computer systems behave themselves!