HBSA – A Call for Volunteers

HBSA (Hospital Radio) Logo

So I’ve had to take some time away from HBSA (Hospital Broadcasting Service Ayrshire) to sort out some personal issues in my own life but I feel like now is as good a time as any to talk about HBSA and maybe even recruit some passionate would be radio presenters to take my place.

Okay before I talk about what it’s like to volunteer and things like that I want to give you some basic information and a little bit of the history behind HBSA so that you know what you’re hopefully getting involved with. HBSA is located in Crosshouse Hospital, East Ayrshire and was formally launched in 1980, back then it was running out of Ayrshire Central Hospital and it remained there until 2009 when after dealing with dwindling numbers the studio was packed up and moved to Crosshouse Hospital by the station manager Mark “The Jingleman” Fisher. Regardless of where the studio was located it has been serving the patients of Ayrshire for over 25 years, initially through the hospital bedside radio service but as of January 1st 2017 the station was made available via an online service so people all across the world can listen in via either Itunes radio, Tunein Radio or the HBSA website.

Old Studio Image

The station really has grown over the years, I’m immensely proud to have been a part of it and I wish I’d been able to see it all the way back when it started when it was broadcasting shows that were pre-recorded on an old disco unit. It has had its fair share of support over the years, and not just from the volunteers or the Sponsors who I’ll talk about later but from various funding/grant sources who helped to build HBSA into the great volunteer led Station it is today. For example back in 1994 the ITV Telethon Trust gave HBSA a grant that helped to refit the main studio and keep us at the forefront of local broadcasting. Additionally in 2007 HBSA received over £12,000 from NHS Ayrshire and Arran Staff Lottery Fund which they used to refurbish its two main studios. That wasn’t the only time that HBSA benefited from the Lottery Fund, in 2015 we received further funding which was used to purchase new equipment which helped to improve out output. Now HBSA is firmly settled into its home at Crosshouse Hospital where it provides consistent daily entertainment to both patients in hospital as well as its online listeners.

Currently our setup includes two studios, the main broadcast studio is bigger and is equipped with the latest S-Radio system from Clyde Broadcast. There is a second broadcast studio which is smaller and blends older and newer broadcasting technology, the benefit of both studios is that training can be done in one while a live show is being broadcast from the other.


Okay so I think I’ve given you enough background now onto something that’s more relevant if you want to get involved. HBSA is entirely run and operated by Volunteers, don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this before though there is full training provided to all volunteers and ongoing support from both your fellow presenters and the station manager Mark Fisher. Now you will need to give up your free time, usually 2-3 hours per week, more if you want to take up more than one slot on the schedule. I’d recommend you start off light and once you know if it’s for you then you can maybe take on another show. You’ll also need to pay an annual membership fee of £20, this helps to keep HBSA running and supports the training of other Volunteers as well as allowing you to present your show. I think it’s well worth it and after you’ve been behind the mic a few times I think you’ll agree that £20 to be a part of something as amazing as HBSA is value for money.

Something particularly good is that as long as you use common sense and don’t abuse the privilege there isn’t a great deal of oversight so you can present your show however you like, as long as you follow a simple and clear list of guidelines which protect you and the listener. But beyond not being rude or insulting or overly controversial you have a great deal of leeway with what you talk about and what music you play which I personally think is great.

I think the most important thing you get from Volunteering with HBSA is confidence, after a few weeks and months of presenting a show you find it easier to talk to people and you just get better at filling those awkward silences. Not to mention for the younger presenters who are looking into going to college or University it doesn’t look bad an application. Don’t despair if you can’t volunteer straight away, we keep the details of everyone who applies and just because there might not be a spot right now doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future so if you feel you have something to offer then don’t hesitate because you will get a chance at some point. If you are interested then follow this link and fill in the application.

Now I’ve mentioned the volunteers, another critical part of a registered charity like HBSA is sponsors and fundraising, the first part usually won’t impact your show unless you’re show is picked to advertise the sponsor, but that usually means that during your show you mention them at some point and/or play a recording made by Mark which advertises them. Currently we have a good few sponsors that help keep the studio running, which include but aren’t limited to C.M.H. Plumbing, Utopia Computers, Centrestage, Clyde Studios and G Reid Opticians. The fundraising might affect you depending upon how much you want to be involved, for example every year HBSA does a Roadshow where we go and host shows live and raffle of prizes all with the aim of earning more money to keep bringing quality entertainment to the listener.


Speaking of which, as well as the volunteers who host regular shows 7 days a week, when no one can make it in or when it’s late at night once the hosts have all gone home, the HBSA Jukebox takes over providing a constant output. The service has 168 hours of content, that’s enough to last a week, and it’s broken into shows with different themes and genres so that there’s always something that’ll appeal to someone.

Something new that might appeal to the thespian volunteers is our new drama content, these comedy and drama shows were all written exclusively for radio and provided to us by John Fryer who also produces and writes as well. These shows are brand new and are an example of our aim to continue to develop and grow as a content provider. The productions run each night on HBSA from 10.00pm until midnight (except Fridays)

So hopefully I’ve given you a nice overview of what it’s like to volunteer for HBSA and if it sounds like something you’d be interested in then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Old Studio Building Image


First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/

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