What's it all about?
So what is Hospital Radio about? With bedside television these days why on earth do we need hospital radio?
The volunteers at Whipps Cross Hospital Radio are not a bunch of people with nothing better to do than sit in a studio and play their favourite music tracks for their own enjoyment; far from it. Most of the volunteers are pretty busy people who give up some spare hours every week to generate entertainment specifically for patients; to make programmes they will enjoy and play the music that they would like to hear. We also make sure we go around the wards to have a chat, make personal contact and keep them company for a few minutes.
As a registered charity we look on our role as being a community radio station with a ‘captive’ audience, but also with an audience which changes every week. Most people will only be with us for a few days but we believe that if we can brighten those days just a little bit, then our job is done. A chat here, a request there and giggle wherever we can - the old saying about laughter being just the tonic stands as tall now as it did forty years ago.
If you would like to register your interest in joining the station when we have some vacancies please read the rest of this page carefully and complete the volunteer application form below.
Any specific vacancies will be listed here so do pop back from time to time, they may also be announced on our Facebook and Twitter channels.
Firstly you will need to live locally to the station
Believe it or not we get people wanting to join us from the other side of London. Quite apart from the cost, travelling any distance can soon become a hardship especially after a day at work, and you will soon find yourself making excuses for not doing it.
Even if you live locally having your own transport may help you get home after programmes finish when public transport may be limited.
We really want station members to spend the evening at the station not only doing their own programme, if they have one, but also helping others on that night and with collecting requests from the wards. So it is important that you have the time and commitment to turn up every week, and may not work if you do shift work. It is very disruptive and difficult for everybody else if you only turn up once in a while and then expect to do a programme. Ultimately your programme may be given to somebody who is more reliable.
Occasionally we will also ask you to help at fund raising events. Running a station like Whipps Cross is costly and we receive no regular external financial support, so we have to raise all the income ourselves (and we will need your help!).
Unfortunately, as with other stations, due to the voluntary nature of our organisation we are unable to offer work experience positions. We are also unable to accommodate gap year students or those likely to be going to university or foundation (pre-university) courses.
Likewise, we do not take on people wanting to use us solely as a training opportunity for a future job in the broadcast media. The same applies to people who want to be DJs.
None really, we can offer you training in the technical aspects of programme making - such as using broadcast equipment, if you want to do programmes. Not everybody who joins us wants to present programmes, and that’s fine, we may have opportunities for helping behind the scenes with the day to day running of the station or technical support.
If you already have some relevant skills or interests that you think may be useful then let us know. For example we are always keen to hear from anybody with technical skills.
We have a lower age limit of 18 but no upper limit.
Music on WXHR
Our playlists and music selection are aimed squarely at patients - presenters do not play their own favourite records! Requests always come first but generally we play melodic, familiar and generally 'easy listening' tracks to appeal to an older age group. You would be more likely to hear Frank Sinatra than Franz Ferdinand.
What do we offer in return?
Hospital Radio can be very rewarding, for example simply by cheering up people, chatting to them on the radio or playing their favourite music. However, like most things the more you put in, the more you will get out of it.
With our two on-air studios equipped with digital playout systems, plus our talks / music and production studios we can offer technical facilities that are better than most community stations.
These allow you to develop skills across a range of different areas in radio production. In addition, we can offer training on editing and other technical aspects of programme production.
For example, if you would like to develop interviewing skills then you can have the opportunity with us. It can take less than ten minutes to do a quick Google for a local group or event, contact them and arrange for a representative to come to the station be interviewed. While your first interview may not be great, each time you do one you will improve and grow more confident. And remember you will have real listeners and your interview or feature may also be put on this website.
Likewise you could go out and record something of interest for our listeners on location, learn how to edit it and broadcast it as part of a programme.
We can also offer opportunities with football commentary and the technical side of keeping the station running or recording music as well as writing and producing articles for this website.
To help we have produced a range of guides. For example our radio presentation guide covers things like how engage with the listener, constructing a programme running order, music selection, the use of jingles and trials, how to handle news junctions, what to promote and how to promote forward etc. While further guides give tips on reading scripts and news stories, interview techniques for both live studio quests and when recording on location. We also have guides on the use of broadcast equipment such as the broadcast desk, the playout system and our portable digital recorders - to name just three.
We offer the facilities and can give you the guidance and training, but ultimately it will be down to you to put in the effort. Over the years it is those people that have put in that effort, who have succeeded in getting the most out of their time at the station. And in a number of cases station members have gone on to forge successful careers in radio or television (see our Wall of Fame page). If you have any questions about volunteering or the joining process use the form below to ask them.
How to get Involved
Before going any further you should have a good look around this website and our Facebook and Twitter channels so that you are fully familiar with what we do and if it is really what you are looking for.
You should also have a listen to a typical request programme on our MixCloud channel here.
Initially you will need to fill out the volunteer appication form below. We will then get in touch and make an appointment for you to visit one Sunday evening when we will show you around. This is followed up with a second visit the following week when you can start on the application forms.
There is a well-defined process involving the Trust Volunteer service to get you CRB checked and references agreed. The whole process may take 4-6 weeks during which time you will need to be patient.
Once all the paperwork is complete an ID badge and polo shirt will be yours. Then you will be passed on to the Studio Manager for the evening you have chosen to be part of. And then the training starts…
Volunteer Application Form
Please provide the following details:
- Your email address
- Which London borough or district you come from
- Confirmation that you are over 18
- Some background, any relevant experience and why you want to join us
These details are important; your application will be delayed if you don’t provide them.