Hospital Radio forced to shift

Last updated 05:00 12/07/2012

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Hospital Radio has found a new home but is asking for community support to help it continue.

The community radio station, that has been broadcasting for 23 years and is run by 14 volunteers, must vacate its studio in the Gardens Block at Timaru Hospital after the building was deemed unsafe.

An engineers' report suggested the possibility of a "catastrophic collapse" in a severe earthquake.

Hospital Radio founder Ron Heney said it was a shame to move.

"It's perfect for us. It's simply ideal."

The studio is housed in a dormitory room and is lined with egg cartons for soundproofing. It offers clear views of the city.

However, an alternative venue has been found on Stafford St.

Mr Heney said as a result of the move and the extra costs involved Hospital Radio needed funding if it was to survive. He hoped the community would support it to keep it going.

The station was originally just for patients at Timaru Hospital. However, the hospital upgrade saw the end of the headsets that the station broadcast on and they switched to an FM signal which became available to the public.

"It's been a wonderful journey," Mr Heney said.

"I built all the gear up. I built the control desk because we couldn't afford one there and then."

It has won awards and was the only station to continue broadcasting during the 2006 snowstorm.

Mr Heney said he did not know how many listeners were out there but was happy to continue as long as there were some.

"If we only got to play to a few listeners we would still consider it worthwhile because the health benefits are so great."

Once a month the station met listeners at a get-together at the Woodlands Road Church Hall.

"It's a good chance to meet our listeners and for everybody to get together," Mr Heney said.

The station will sign off at the end of the month, but hoped to be back on air soon.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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