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An Invernessian in America: Diane Knox says Inverness Hospital Radio is an absolute tonic

By Diane Knox

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Diane Knox.
Diane Knox.

I read some news in the Inverness Courier last week that made my heart happy. Good news of any capacity will have that effect, but this really made me smile – Inverness Hospital Radio is growing.

To mark their 51st year of service at Raigmore Hospital, the volunteer-run radio station is launching online broadcasting. How fantastic!

It means their brilliant service won’t be limited to those staying in the hospital for one reason or another, or to the healthcare professionals who work at Raigmore.

Hospital radio really is the ethos of all radio presentation and production. It’s the grassroots, where it all began and, I know this for sure, I wouldn’t have had the radio career I had in Scotland had it not been for Inverness Hospital Radio.

Life president and founder member Donnie Aird, presenter Atholl Menzies and Thomas Nelson launching Inverness Hospital Radio’s online service.
Life president and founder member Donnie Aird, presenter Atholl Menzies and Thomas Nelson launching Inverness Hospital Radio’s online service.

I remember turning up at MFR for my first interview. It was 2005, I was fresh out of university in Glasgow, home in Inverness, staying with my parents and had absolutely no idea what my next move was going to be.

My degree had been in communication and mass media, and after graduation I really was none the wiser as to “what I wanted to be when I grew up”.

The media degree was, at that time, kind of vague. I recall a school guidance counsellor telling me to study a real subject! I mean, it’s worked out fine… but I digress.

So I arrived at MFR and sat down with the managing director. He told me: “You seem to know a lot, but what can you actually do?!” Blank stare.

He told me if I wanted to get into radio, in any capacity, learn about it from hospital radio. And that I did!

I knew someone who volunteered at Raigmore, so I waltzed into the studio one night, bright eyed, bushy tailed, eager to learn and armed with a pad and pen to take notes.

Good thing I had that notebook – I spent hours walking around the wards asking people what songs they wanted to hear and who they wanted to say ‘hi’ to.

But, in radio and our ratings-obsessed world, that is GOLDEN. Your audience is captive (sorry…not for the best of reasons), you get to interact with them directly, find out exactly what they want from you and then deliver it in the most personal way.

Inverness Hospital Radio was, and still is, an absolute tonic. It’s a bright beacon of sunshine in an environment that can be very sad and exhausting.

When you visit the Inverness Hospital Radio website, the very first thing you see is a link to request a song. Such a small, innocent gesture that has the power to brighten someone’s dark day.

Support this local gem as they launch online, and contribute to the continued success of a service that makes hearts happy. I will be.

Inverness Hospital Radio celebrates launch of online broadcasting

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