Some Background

(Work in Progress...)

The Network was founded in 1952 by Hon. Alderman Mrs Freda Cocks OBE as the Birmingham Hospital Commentaries Association (BHCA). It became the BHBA in 1955 and BHBN in 1972. It adopted the name of Birmingham’s BHBN in 1992, and adopted it’s current broadcast name of BHBN Hospital Radio in 2006

Nationally, hospital radio first started life in York in 1926.

The Network was a pioneer in many aspects of its broadcasting. Time spent in hospital back in the Network’s early days was very different to the present where day case surgery is common.

During the Fifties and Sixties a two-week stay in hospital was more the average for even a routine procedure. This gave the then stations volunteers the opportunity to foster long-term relationships with patients.

The Early Days

The first studio was at the rear of the New Inns Public house on the Moseley Road, providing live Cricket & Football commentaries of local teams to patients in Yardley Green Sanatorium, and as the service successfully expanded it moved home quite a few times before finally settling at the Warwickshire County Cricket Ground, Edgbaston, in 1966 (this included time spent in Dale End in the early 1960s). We still serve the Yardley Green Hospital to this day as it is now part of the Heart of England Foundation NHS Trust.

Images show members of BHBA broadcasting from the Ideal Homes Exhibition and Meeting ‘Pop Star’ Frankie Vaughan and in the studio.

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The Edgbaston Years

It was at the Warwickshire County Ground (Edgbaston) that the Network really found its place within the Birmingham hospital community, and where it became a familiar sound around the wards, popular with patients, staff and relatives. The Network was first formally registered as a Charity in 1962 and incorporated as a Limited Company in 1981.

23 Years at City Hospital

After a long and happy period at Edgbaston, in 1988 Warwickshire County Cricket Club decided to authorise redevelopment at the County Ground. So the Network relocated once more in 1989 to studios based at the City Hospital, Dudley Road, with an impressive studio complex which, for the first time, enabled the Network to provide an entertaining and professional 24 hour service to Birmingham’s health community.

And so to the Heritage Building - Queen Elizabeth UHB Site

BHBN Directors signed the lease on 13th May 2012. The contractors were engaged immediately to commence the specialist work.

Once that work was completed we were able to start the soundproofing, decorating and installing the broadcast equipment. BHBN Members that were involved in the first fixing and the completion the studios were

David Horton Technical Controller / Project Manager, David Reynolds Technical Consultant, David Moore & Janette Lowndes.

The first programme was Broadcast from Studio 2 on the morning of Saturday 20th July 2012