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The following history is taken from the quarterly printed programme guides.

Radio Lions has been broadcasting each evening since 1975. Our programmes may be heard via an exclusive cable network serving the General Hospital in St. Helier, the Jeanne Jugan Residence, The Limes in Green Street and now also Sandybrook in St.Peter's Valley.


Hospital Radio in Jersey started before the war. It was the idea of the then Chief of Postal Services and the service continued throughout the war years but came to an end after the war when people had to put their energies into building a new life for themselves. The present service was the brainchild of Lion John Stilwell who had been entertained by such a service whilst hospitalised in Croydon, England. On his return to Jersey he discussed the idea of setting up a similar operation with fellow members - the Lions club agreed and the station went on air at Christmas 1975, and was called Radio Lions.

The studio was set up in one room of a small cottage which belonged to the hospital, in Kensington Place. The room was divided into two by a wooden partition, incorporating a door and a large window - one side was the engineering studio, the other side was the presenter's. The equipment consisted of a mixer (combines all the sounds for output on air) and two record decks. The presenter's studio contained a couple of chairs, a table, microphones, and a small collection of records. Due to the number of loose floorboards, moving around in the studio often resulted in some very peculiar sounds as a result of bouncing record decks!

The station was run initially by members of the Lions Club, including Lions Peter Tabb and John Farley. Gradually people outside the Lions Club were recruited and in 1979 it was agreed that Radio Lions should run itself. The first committee was appointed by Peter Tabb but from 1980 onwards Radio Lions held elections to appoint its own. Elections are held every year and every member of Radio Lions is eligible to stand for the Management Committee.

In 1978 the station moved from its old home in Kensington Place to a new purpose built studio in the basement of the General Hospital, as the cottage was due for demolition in the hospital's rebuilding programme. The studio was built and fitted out with the assistance of the hospital authorities and the Lions Club. All the costs and running expenses were met by the Lions Club until the early 1980's when it was decided by the Radio Lions members that they should begin to raise money themselves. Various fund raising events were organised and gradually the costs were covered and even new equipment purchased.

The Lions Club have always retained an interest in Radio Lions - they appoint a Liaison Officer each year - and they have pledged their support if funds are short. In fact, they have recently paid for alterations to the studios as well as expensive new mixers that have brought the facilites up to date for the 1990's. The studios are very well equipped and often the envy of many visitors from UK hospital radio stations.

The station tries to provide a schedule of programmes to suit all tastes, most are based on music but when possible current affairs are also covered. In the late 1970's, Sir Billy Butlin used to hold a Variety Club weekend at his Portlet Holiday Village. Radio Lions were always invited to go along and record interviews with the show-business personalities that attended, and we had the good fortune to be able to talk to stars such as Morecombe and Wise, Dame Vera Lynn, Jimmy Saville, Paul Daniels, Rod Hull (without Emu!) and even Telly Savalas!

Most people in show-business and the sporting world are very happy to take part in programmes for hospital radio and visitors to our studios have included Alan Whicker, Frank Ifield, Frankie Vaughan and John Dunn. On some occasions they will talk to us when they will not give interviews to the media. Two occasions which spring to mind are firstly the visit of Brian Clough and the Nottingham Forest team some years ago when although he flatly refused to speak to any of the general media, he invited us along to his hotel and wheeled every member of his team along for interview as well as talking to our members himself. Secondly one of our presenters went to Paris to see Phil Collins in concert and was given an exclusive interview.

Radio Lions has about 40 active members, some of whom have been with the station almost from the beginning. The ages range from teens to 60's, so every musical interest is covered. We are always canvassing for new members and welcome visits from patients and/or families, so why not come along and see us at work ? Simply call us on 87 18 18 any evening between 7:00 and 10:00 and arrange a convenient date and time. See you soon!

Radio Lions' history was researched by Cynthia Reid

"Radio Lions - a friend at your bedside"

Last updated 2001-feb-26


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