THE pilots of the airwaves at Hospital Radio Basingstoke are flying high again after the station returned to live broadcasting following a major revamp.

HRB has been playing pre-recorded programmes for the last three months while the service moved into a new £32,000 studio.

Marilyn Price, HRB’s chairwoman, said the new facility – which is the result of months of fundraising – had given the volunteer presenters and technicians a massive boost.

She said: “Before, we were embarrassed to bring people to the old cabin, so we are delighted to move into this new, much more spacious and safer studio.”

Extra space and better disabled access means more interviews can be done with guests and there is a dedicated training room with a mixing desk funded by a recent Big Lottery Fund, Awards for All grant. Presenter Rosy Kershaw said the station was a vital part of hospital life.

“For many patients, it is secondary care,” she said. “While we are not concerned with the medical side, we can be a stranger with a smile when visiting the wards and when we play requests that are very personal. For many who may be anxious, that is a great help.”

Kestrel FM DJ Steve Fox, who began his career at the station, dropped by for the relaunch last Sunday.

He said: “The station is an excellent place to start as a DJ because it teaches you the fundamentals. Most importantly though, it teaches you that the audience is the most important thing.” The radio station has been beaming its soothing sounds night and day to patients and hospital staff from a portable building for more than 35 years.

The only previous break in live broadcasting came after a fire gutted the station in 1999, causing it to go off air for 18 months while another cabin was bought.

The station was last year ranked in the top five by the Hospital Broadcasting Association.

If you would like to find out more about joining the HRB team, or wish to make a donation to the service, visit