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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Antrim Hospital Radio goes digital with launch of new app

Tommy McMeekin and Paula Marshall

Tommy McMeekin and Paula Marshall


Antrim Hospital Radio is tuning in for an exciting new future as it enters the digital age for the first time.

 

The development comes as the station prepares to mark 30 years of keeping patients and staff entertained with its unique mix of music, chat, dedications and requests.

 

Far from the early days of vinyl, LPs and eight-track cartridges, it is now available as a free app via the App Store and Google Play, or online, making it accessible to everyone whether they are in the hospital or not, and wherever they are in the world.



Jean Black

Jean Black


Plans for the new approach were well underway before the pandemic when a new digital studio was installed in the hospital and this latest development has been warmly welcomed by everyone involved.

 

The Northern Trust's Corporate Services General Manager Donald McWhirter said:


“Antrim Hospital Radio has been a mainstay of the hospital since 1994, and 30 years on we are delighted to see it going from strength to strength.

 



“It’s amazing to think how far it has come, and now at the touch of a button anyone can listen in and connect with our DJs and patients.

 

“The online broadcasting option has been made possible with the support of Charitable Trust Funds, and it is fantastic to see how money donated to the Trust is being used for the benefit of our patients, bringing them some comfort during what can be an unsettling time and helping to build a community feeling within the hospital which is really important to us.

 



“We are hugely grateful to all of those who have shared their time and skills with us to sustain and develop the service, and as we mark Volunteers Week I want to say a huge thank you to them on behalf of everyone at the Northern Trust.”


Tommy McMeekin 

Tommy McMeekin 


The station was initially set up by a small group of volunteers, and at its peak in the 1990s and early 2000s, around 30 people took charge of their own two-hour show every week. Back then, listeners were able to enjoy all-day broadcasting every Saturday and Sunday, along with outside broadcasts, live reports from local football matches, and live music for hospital functions, open days and local community events.

 

Those involved are now hoping its digital departure signals a new chapter in its success story.

 

This includes volunteer Tommy McMeekin, who has been with the radio service since its very first day. He said:


“It has been a hugely rewarding experience, and all of us are excited by the opportunities open to us now we are broadcasting in this way. We’ll still be visiting patients in the wards like we always did – this is one part of our service which hasn’t changed.

 



“It’s amazing to see how human contact like this can lift a person’s spirits when they are going through a challenging time. Just to know we are bringing them a little bit of comfort makes our roles worthwhile.

 

“We want the hospital radio service to offer connection and community, and ultimately remind our patients that they’re not alone.”

 

If you would like to be a part of this very special initiative, the Northern Trust would be keen to hear from new volunteers, especially those with an interest in radio and working with other people.

 



Please get in touch by emailing:



On App Store and Google Play search for Antrim Hospital Radio to download to your phone for free.


The station is available online at:


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