Diamonds are forever!

28 April 2011

Renowned TV anchor man Mike Neville comes out of retirement to launch a diamond anniversary appeal for what is thought to be the oldest hospital radio station in the country.

Award-winning Radio Tyneside, which broadcasts to the hospital communities on Tyneside and beyond, was formed 60 years ago, initially to bring live reports of Newcastle United football matches to patients in the city hospitals.

Today the registered charity, run by volunteers, is a full 24-hour music, news, sport and features radio station. It still provides live match day coverage from St James’ Park and that commentary is also played in the stadium for visually impaired fans to follow.

Mike Neville MBE, who has been President of the station for about twenty years, used to broadcast live Christmas Eve specials from the Radio Tyneside studios. Amongst celebrities he interviewed were Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Larry Hagman, who played JR Ewing in Dallas when everyone wanted the answer to the question ‘who shot JR?′.

Chair of the Newcastle Hospitals Foundation Trust, Kingsley Smith and Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive Officer of Northumbrian Water, a long-term supporter of Radio Tyneside, will also be attending with Station Director Dave Nicholson MBE, and other people from the radio station.

Presenters Cara Hall and Alistair Baker will be interviewing the guests in Studio One for their Sunday Supplement magazine show. The Northumbrian Water employees work for Radio Tyneside under their company’s ‘Just an hour’ volunteering scheme which encourages its people to get involved with good causes in company time.

Mike Neville said: “Hospital radio provides a really important local service to patients and Radio Tyneside is a great example of its success. It has been serving patients for sixty years and continues to be more and more popular, achieving better listener figures than other radio stations.

“However, equipment can’t go on for ever and it breaks down and has to be replaced and annual licences and running costs have to be met as well. The station depends on donations and in this special diamond anniversary year we have set ourselves a target to raise £60,000 to make sure our service continues many years into the future.”

Radio Tyneside broadcasts on the hospital network, hospedia and on 1575AM and on-line. Listeners can tune in through the website: www.radiotyneside.co.uk where more information about the station and details on how to donate to the appeal can also be found.

For further information contact: Alistair Baker on 0191-301-6851 or 07711-793-493.

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