Learn about the history of the Hospital Broadcasting Service. You can see key dates in the timeline or read more detail below.
The Hospital Broadcasting Service (HBS) was established in 1969 and initially broadcast a full twelve months of pilot programmes to Glasgow’s Foresthall Hospital (which was run by the City Council) to prove to local NHS management that a dedicated hospital radio service would be appreciated by their patients. In autumn the following year, NHS matrons finally agreed that they would allow programmes on their wards.
On Christmas Day 1970 the network service began as HBS - The Glasgow and West Hospital Broadcasting Service – initially reaching eight of the city’s hospitals from central studios on the top floor of an office block in Argyle Street.
The logo used by the service in the 1970s.
During 1970 the team providing St Mirren match commentaries to Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Infirmary (RAI) asked if they could be included in the new music and entertainment radio service. It was decided that rather than extending the Glasgow network to the South-West of the city, a separate Paisley organisation would be created. (Hospital) Radio Paisley also started broadcasting in 1970, though it subsequently closed in 1993 with provision of programmes to the then-new Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) being taken over by HBS.
Membership numbers rose throughout the seventies and eighties with over a hundred active volunteers at times. Additional hospital sites were also added to the network and studio facilities developed providing the service with a Training Studio, two On-Air Studios and a general purpose Recording Studio. However from the late eighties the owners of the rented accommodation failed to carry out maintenance, causing the condition of the premises to deteriorate significantly.
In February 1993 it was decided to move to more compact (and watertight) facilities. The transfer to Baltic Chambers was achieved without any break in programming during August 1993.
Through the nineties the Service re-established itself having lost a large number of members because of the atrocious working conditions towards the end of the time at the Argyle Street premises. Again membership levels rose to a peak of around one hundred despite the cramped working conditions of the restricted space available in Baltic Chambers.
The Service has entered the competition for National Hospital Radio Station of the Year twice, on both occasions being recognised as one of the top 3 hospital radio stations in the UK.
At the start of 2014 the ageing equipment, which had been in use in both studios for the previous fifteen years, was replaced with brand new digital equipment. This equipment is a key part of the investment plans that will see the service available to patients in a number of listening formats over the coming years, including a high quality stereo internet stream that was launched on 1st June 2015.
Two of the awards picked up at the National Hospital Radio Awards 2013.