Trusting in good music

Hospital radio station Trust AM celebrates it's 40th anniversary.  Pictured center is Chairman of the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Foundation Trust Chris Scholey with radio volunteers, MP John Mann and Coun Frank Hart  (w120708-5b)
Hospital radio station Trust AM celebrates it's 40th anniversary. Pictured center is Chairman of the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Foundation Trust Chris Scholey with radio volunteers, MP John Mann and Coun Frank Hart (w120708-5b)
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CHUCK Berry was topping the charts with My Ding-a-Ling when Worksop’s hospital radio first took to the airwaves on 2nd December 1972.

Forty years on the music may have changed, but the audience remains the same - patients of all ages, from all walks of life, and with a huge variety of musical tastes.

Catering to that sort of listenership is no mean feat, but with it’s slogan of ‘More Variety’, Trust AM manages it well.

It began life as a project for sixth form students at the former Valley Comprehensive School and was called Kilton Hospital Radio, named after the old hospital in whose buildings the studios are still based.

Its name today reflects the NHS Trust which runs both Bassetlaw Hospital and Doncaster Royal Infirmary, bringing music to the ears of a potential audience of nearly 107,000 in-patients.

All the current 19 presenters are volunteers, including retired teacher Steve Roberts, who has been at the station for 12 years.

He said: “I was a big fan of pirate radio like Radio Caroline and wanted to be an actor but I became a drama teacher.”

“I got involved here because the previous station manager lived on the same street as me.”

Steve hosts the Weekday Carousel show on Wednesdays and Fridays, 10am - 1pm, which has a Radio 2 style format, and is also involved in training new recruits.

“Hospital radio is a great training ground for anybody wanting to go into local radio,” he said.

“We interview anybody who wants to be a presenter and then do five weeks of training, one-and-a-half hours each week.”

“Once they are are ready to do a show on their own I set them up and then drive away and leave them to it. I think it’s worse if they think I am hovering about.”

Trust AM has shows dedicated to specialist tastes as well, such as Saturday Soul Club, 6-8pm, hosted by Trevor Burton.

He has been a presenter for three years and said people join the station for a variety of different reasons.

“Some people have been a patient and heard us, or they have a member of the family who has been in hospital, or they might just want some radio experience,” he said.

“We have a huge library of music, everything from chart hits to musicals, jazz, classical, country and western.”

They take requests from listeners and in July the most-requested artiste was Nat King Cole, followed by Tom Jones.

But more modern names also figured in the top ten, including Adele and Cee Lo Green.

Chairman of Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Chris Scholey said: “Trust AM do a fantastic job and provide a much-valued service.”

“Being in hospital can be lonely and a bit boring, no matter how good the care is and how kind the staff are.”

“The free entertainment and feeling of company that patients get from listening to Trust AM can make a massive difference to their stay in hospital and help them get on the road to recovery.”

“I hope they keep going for another 40 years at least.”

For more information on volunteering or to make a donation go to www.trustam.com.