Radio Maelor in Wrexham has been broadcasting to the patients of Maelor Hospital since 1979 when it was started by the Hospital’s League of Friends. Yet, despite thirty-three years of broadcasting, the station has had a bit of an image change in the last twelve months. Radio Maelor is the latest station to be featured in The Changing Face of Hospital Radio section of Community RA+Edio.
Catherine Ollier has been working at Radio Maelor since she was 19 years old and presents the Join Our Club programme. In 2010 she was awarded a certificate from the Hospital Broadcasting Association for fifteen years of service to the station. She told Community RA+Edio about how the station has been changing its image.
“The station has recently undergone something of a revamp in the past 12 months with a brand new logo and new polo shirts so presenters can be identified round the hospitals.”
Radio Maelor’s new logo was designed by pupils at the local school, St Christopher’s, in Wrexham.
Catherine told us that, “it was great to see all the pupils ideas but was a really difficult
decision to pick out the winners. It was a bit similar to being a judge on Countryfile when they have to pick out the winning designs for their calendar. It’s a great logo very colourful, the rainbow colours are what are striking – colour is meant to be fun – The old one was so tired looking and we thought it would be good to have a change.“
A new logo is not the only way in which Radio Maelor is modernising. Catherine also told me about how the station is expanding onto the internet and how they have made sure it is linked to the local community.
“We have plans in the pipeline for a website created by media students at Yale College in Wrexham and their lecturer Tony Pugh. Yale have been a great support to us and it is great learning for their students.”
As you can see, Radio Maelor is very connected to their local area. Catherine herself has already been featured in a previous article on Community RA+Edio at Easter when she organised the Easter Egg Appeal in conjunction with a local school and hospital.The station is also linking to their community in another way, by joining up with Radio Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
Radio Ysbyty Glan Clwyd was established in 1976 and broadcasts to Glan Clwyd Hospital in Clwyd. Catherine told me that the link up is “a move which has seen the two stations meeting up for various activities to work together and exchange ideas.”
Clearly it has been a busy twelve months for the station and it seems that there is no sign of this slowing down.
“We hope to gain more dedicated presenters. We certainly need more people to assist with anything from presenting, going around the wards, technical people to assist with IT or anyone who has further promoting ideas or could sit on our committee.”
And for the station itself?
“The plan is to have more technology, a website in the studio whereby we can access Facebook and Twitter. We want better equipment in the hospital itself so people can properly listen to us. It would be good to have road-shows around the Wrexham area. We are steadily growing by interviewing local people and informing them gives us more coverage. I would like to think that we could broadcast through the internet in future or perhaps have a full time licence but I think that is well in the future talk.”
The station currently has 16 presenters who present 22 hours a week to the patients. Their plan is to have more shows in future and the team have a set procedure for training new recruits.
“We interview them before we offer them the opportunity to complete a 6 week training programme. The training involves them sitting in with another presenter and they go through the controls and equipment with them. Then the trainee is given the opportunity to do a 15 minute slot themselves playing tracks and talking in between music. The slot grows as they become more confident and then at Week 6 they have to produce a demo for Jimmy Smith our Studio Manager. Jimmy approves it before they can have their own programme.”
So if you live in the Wrexham area and would like to join the team at Radio Maelor, they are always looking for new volunteers. All presenters and volunteers should apply by emailing Wrexhamradiomaelor@hotmail.co.uk.
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