Colour photograph of early radio station equipment

Radio Odstock : Early years

Radio Odstock 70th Anniversary: Early years

Founded in 1953, 2 employees from the Salisbury Journal (Roger Bowns and a.n.other possibly Mr Chuckleberry), deciding hospital radio would be good for patients, put together programmes about local sport. This was in the Echo office in Salisbury (later Gas Company building possibly in Castle Street).

When Radio Infirmary (as it was then known) left and moved to the Odstock hospital site in the late 1950s it was run by Bill Tilbury and George Diaper who worked in rehab and ran a request programme on Thursday evenings. Radio Odstock started broadcast from a tiny space, affectionately known as “Broadcasting Broom Cupboard” or Salisbury District Hospital’s very own BBC! It is thought that the original studio at Odstock was where the PALS office is now.
At that time the hospital was on two sites: Salisbury General Infirmary in the city centre and the Odstock site (now Salisbury District Hospital). Radio Odstock broadcast live at Odstock and then a recording broadcast the next day at the Infirmary.

In 1967, a former infirmary patient Paul Mullins, thought a patient request show would be a great idea. Joining the team with Robert Coward, Brian Mould and John Clifton. Paul campaigned and developed the radio station over the coming years. He collected records via his small record shop in Amesbury, catalogued and stored them in a mobile home at Odstock. Most of the collection was donated by patients and other interest people. His wife Sarah, who worked at the hospital, kept the accounts. Paul’s commitment to Radio Odstock and appearances at local events meant the station was taken seriously.

If any celebrities were in the area, we tried to get an interview with them. Paul Mullins used to take a slide show round to local organisations to publicise Radio Odstock, which had many slides of interviewees. Paul was definitely the driving force behind Radio Odstock and it was due to his inexhaustible enthusiasm that it grew to what it became.
(Fiona Crowther at RO 1971 – 1983)

Note: Fiona lived on site at Odstock from the age of 10 with her father being the hospital engineer and used to hang around outside Radio Odstock to listen to the music. Eventually getting involved in activities she met her husband, Ray Crowther and, when they married in 1979, they had a reception in the Community Centre on site. Fiona knows of at least three other couples who also married after meeting at Radio Odstock.



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