Kingstown Radio

Kingstown Radio

Radio station

name = Kingstown Radio
airdate = 16 July 1961
slogan = "The Home of Classic Hits"
frequency= 1350 kHz & [ Patientline]
area = Kingston upon Hull
format = Hospital
owner = Hull & East Riding NHS Trust|

Kingstown Radio is a hospital radio station based in Kingston upon Hull, England.


The Early Years

Kingstown was launched as a Hospital Radio station in July 1961. However, its roots can be traced back to the 1950s when the Hull City Football Club and its supporters club, along with Kingston upon Hull Telephones Department and local cable company Rediffusion got together to discuss the possibility of providing football commentaries to hospital patients.

The idea was put into practice, with a landline being installed at Boothferry Park, which was then fed into the Hull telephone exchange and onto the hospitals via the telephone lines. This became known as "Tigerfusion", so called because of Hull City AFC's nickname "the Tigers". The first match to be transmitted was Hull City v Luton Town which went out on 8 November 1952.

Towards the end of the 1950s, Ken Fulstow bought himself a portable tape recorder and used the tape machine to send recorded messages to other enthusiasts throughout the UK and hit upon the idea of taping messages for people in local hospitals. In 1959, the "Hull Tape Recorder Club" was established and it was agreed that they would take messages to the patients. The organisation found premises above a small record/electrical shop on Hull's Hessle Road. They assembled a studio using an old radiogram, their own tape recorders and some odd furniture.

Members would visit the patients and take note of their requests on tape, they would then edit the messages and recorded music into a programme back at the studio. Fulstow later approached the Hospital administrators, Hull City Telephone Department and the Sports Commentary Association to see if it would be possible for the tape recorder club to make use of the existing landlines. It was agreed that they could use the landlines to broadcast the programmes, however, only permission for one hour a fortnight was given and this was on a trial period of three months. Luckily, the trial was a great success and so the club continued to use the facilities on a more or less permanent basis.

The first scheduled programme was transmitted on 16 July 1961 from the Hull Telephones Headquarters on Carr Lane. The first record to be played was "Temptation" by The Everly Brothers.

The club were forced to leave the Hessle Road studio when the area came up for redevelopment, and so new premises were found in the old city area, near the River Hull and River Humber junction at Wellington Street. The studio was a small attic room situated on the top floor of the building, which was to be home between 1969 and 1975. The premises were badly damaged by fire in 1972, when a visiting tramp lit a small fire in order to keep warm. For some time after that, due to somewhat inadequate roof repairs, presenters had to don raincoats and hats when using the studios in wet weather.

During this period, members of the tape recorder club came to the conclusion that the radio work was now starting to take over from the original purpose of the Tape Recorder Club. It was decided that the Hospital Broadcasting Service should be formed and registered as a charitable organization. This finally happened in 1969 when the "Hull & East Riding Hospital Broadcasting Service" officially took over from the Tape Recorder Club.

Tribute must be paid to the generosity of the Hull City Telephones Department| who provided the telephone landlines (which carried the radio signal) free of charge. Without this generosity it is doubtful whether the new radio service could have survived those early years.

The Seventies

In the early 1970s Ken Fulstow laid the Foundations for the "National Association of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations" [] , the inaugural meeting being held in the Hull on 5 April 1970. NAHBO later became the "Hospital Broadcasting Association" and has a membership of over 200 stations.

Kingstown grew in strength and in 1975 the Wellington Street studio was vacated and the organisation moved to 98 Beverley Road, above the Red Cross offices. The members described the new studios as "absolute luxury". Over £1,000 was spent renovating the building and providing new equipment. The first programme was transmitted on 5 March 1975.

The Eighties

On 28 November 1988 the organisation moved to custom built studios in the Kingston General Hospital on Beverley Road. The facility comprised two studios and a record library. A caravan was also converted into a mobile studio, which was donated by the Hull Lions and is still a regular sight at the many annual events. At this time Kingstown took BBC Radio 2 as a sustaining service and used the ill-fated "Network News" hourly service.

The Nineties...and Now!

On 6 December 1994, Kingstown Radio, as it was now known, took to the FM band with a Restricted Service Licence, this allowed the station to broadcast its service on to a potential audience of 600,000 people until 2 January 1995. The service was transmitted on 87.8 MHz FM from the Beverley Road studios. The daytime programmes were actually presented from the Princes Quay shopping centre, in the town centre and relayed to the main studios. A second FM broadcast took place between 9 July and 8 August 1995. The heavy cost of these broadcasts, licence and performing rights fees were underwritten by the selling of advertising and sponsorship.

Since the completion of the last RSL, the Kingston General Hospital has been demolished and the organisation has relocated to new studio at the Hull Royal Infirmary on Anlaby Road, which has been equipped with a computerised play out system called "Myriad", re-writeable CD recorders and MiniDisc players. An additional studio was also built at the Castle Hill Hospital, although it was rarely used, and was decommissioned in 2005.

In 1999, the service began broadcasting on Medium Wave 1350 AM to the grounds of the Hull Royal Infirmary, and now also on the [ Patientline] system to the Castle Hill Hospital, Beverley Westwood Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital. The station can be heard with mostly live presentation between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. and broadcasts non-stop music outside of these times. Kingstown's hourly news is provided by Independent Radio News from London. IRN are also the source for the national and international sports reports used during sport programmes.

Backpage Sport

Backpage Sport is the name of Kingstown Radio's sport strand which airs Saturday 3pm-6pm and Sunday 2pm-6pm. There is also a lively debate programme which takes place Tuesday evenings 7pm-9pm.

The main presenters of Backpage Sport are Tony Sweeney, Louise Pitts, John Stead, and Mark Ash. Commentary is often provided on Hull Kingston Rovers and Hull City, from both Craven Park and KC Stadium in the city.

"Backpage Sport" was also the name of a sports magazine programme which aired in the 1990s on Tyne Tees Television and is also the name of Manx Radio's sports programme [] .


In 2007, Kingstown won the Silver Award for Sports Output, and four commendations for presentation and production at the Hospital Broadcasting Awards, held in Northampton [] .


Before the medium wave launch, Kingstown purchased some sung idents from the Thompson Creative UK agent, Dave Langer. These were replaced by a further package and numerous sweepers from the same supplier in 2005. They have also designed a simple, but effective red and blue logo for use on signage and merchandise.


External links

* [ Kingstown Radio Official Site]
* [ HBA Official Site]
* [ Dave Langer Jingle Site]
* [ Thompson Creative Jingle Site]
* [ Andrew Edwards praising Kingstown]

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