Radio Odstock at 70
Memories by Chris Emm (aka Community Chris)
Today’s volunteers number around 20, with more in training. Over a third of those now are ladies! The current longest running presenter is Dave Beamish with 28 years and 6 months to July 2023! Fellow presenters, Caroline Cooper, Kev Lawrence and Programme Controller Chris Olley all chalk up 26 years each.
Thanks to the support of Salisbury Hospice Charity, since 2019, Radio Odstock is able to broadcast online which was a godsend during the pandemic when the volunteers were not able to enter the hospital to collect requests. Instead, it reached out to the community as Salisbury and area is so linked with their hospital, either by working there, as suppliers, as patients or visitors. Radio Odstock was able to – and still does – share necessary information from the Hospital to the community as well as the Police, other emergency services and Salisbury Reds.
Patients do not stay so long in hospital so it now means that patients can now listen via their Hospedia set screens, make requests in various ways and then, if they are discharged, listen to them at home.
The station has a wide range of programmes specially made for Salisbury and the surrounding area by presenters passionate about different genres of music. The station has its own community news service which broadcasts local news across the schedule and which is regularly updated. It also has its social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, again regularly updated with news across the region, as well as its own website with the schedule of programmes and information.
Guests are welcomed onto the shows from the hospital, hospice and community. Top names have been Stacey Hunter, Salisbury Hospital CEO; Martin Figura, the Poet in Residence; Phil Harding, Time Team Archaeologist and Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire; Steve Shearn, Time Team and Salisbury Hospital cameraman and then Mayor of Salisbury, Tom Corbin.
All shows are recorded and a catch up service provided on the Mixcloud app under the name Friends of Radio Odstock if anyone has missed their favourite live show.
Radio Odstock goes out into the community too with its Outside Broadcasts. Volunteers could be found at the City Council’s Coronation events this year – The Big Lunch and The Big Help Out and support is always given to their partners, Salisbury Hospice Charity with their outside events such as the Fabulous Family Fun Day, FUSE and the Celebration Walk. An Outside Broadcast was held outside The League of Friends Sweet Shop to celebrate their 10th birthday and also at the Hospital Open Day on 22nd July. The 75th Anniversary of the NHS at Salisbury Cathedral was livestreamed by the radio station as was the hospital’s We Reflect service after the pandemic. The station works closely with the Hospital Chaplaincy too, broadcasting their services when required. These broadcasts are vital in bringing the community in to those who, for whatever reason, cannot be there in person.
Jo Watson is the sister of one of two original Salisbury Times founders , Roger Bowns, and contacted the station this year with information about her brother. Jo has many memories of her own time as a presenter of Radio Odstock in the 80s and also of Salisbury, and has recently made a History Show with Classical Hour presenter and Salisbury Historian, John Elliott which has been very popular with listeners.