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Hospital Radio - the original form of patient entertainment

2 Minute Read

Hospital radio is thought to have originated in the United States as a result of hospital volunteers recognising the need for an improved patient experience after the end of the First World War.  

It’s believed that the patient entertainment phenomena crossed the Atlantic and first arrived in the UK in 1925 when York County Hospital fitted 70 loudspeakers and headphones were provided to 200 beds with patients being able to listen to sports commentaries and church services.  

This can be considered as the start of the dedication towards the delivery of patient entertainment, ultimately contributing to a more enjoyable patient experience. Hospital radio was set to grow and grow across the 20th century with most NHS Trusts having their own station hosting beloved DJs and developing a sense of community.  

In recent years, the way we consume media has changed dramatically. All national radio stations can be streamed via an app or listened to directly from the station’s website. But the essence of York County Hospital’s first deployment with headphones at the bedside remains, just with a modern twist.  

Tuning in in 2022

Patient engagement platforms such as WiFi SPARK’s SPARK® Media enable patients to listen at the press of a button

Balancing between a bring your own device (BYOD), bedside entertainment unit, and tablet for loan solutions, SPARK® Media works across the NHS to make patient engagement accessible to all. Available through the free NHS WiFi, users can connect and enjoy endless entertainment and engagement resources.  

Working with Trusts to develop a tailored patient engagement dashboard, hospital radio can be given pride of place and shown as an easy-to-access application. Users need only select the button and begin listening via the hospital radio station’s website.  

Increasing awareness and growing the listenership of the station, SPARK® Media is set to grow and develop to include a ‘request a song’ feature that will allow listeners to feel engaged and connected.  

Hospital radio contributes to the development of a hospital community, helps patients fight boredom and allows them to feel less alone, as well as relaying necessary information quickly and easily across the Trust. Just as patients listened at their bedside over 100 years ago, the tradition of hospital radio is alive and well, there is just a new way to listen.  


WiFi SPARK’s premier offering, SPARK® Media, looks beyond the patient to deliver engagement solutions that integrate with the entire Trust. Read more about the platform and it features by clicking the banner below.  

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