The origins of Anker Radio started back in 1976 over a cup of coffee when Terry Hancock was talking to a member of the district management team by the name of Joan Wills. In 1979, after a long period of negotiation permission was granted to set up the Nuneaton Area Hospital Broadcasting Service, which we now know as Anker Radio and the rest, as they say, is history.
After almost 13 months of fundraising, locating equipment and the conversion of a building at Orchard Street, Anker Radio went on air for the first time on the 6th of November 1980 at 7’o’clock. The first words spoken on Anker Radio were made by Trevor Walters.
The move to the Portakabin on the Maternity car park at the George Eliot Hospital in the mid eighties saw an upturn in the fortunes of the service in many ways. We acquired a caravan to use as an OB unit and this began to bring in valuable revenue that in turn ensured the continuation of the Service.
In December 1994 we moved into a shiny new studio complex on the top floor of the Maternity block and we really felt that we had at last ‘arrived’ as an integral part of the hospital.
It’s interesting to note that setting up the service with one studio and some very basic equipment in 1980 cost the service around fifteen thousand pounds. In 1994 when we equipped two studios with the then latest state of the art equipment we spent around twenty thousand pounds.
1998 was an important year for Anker Radio, Councillor Richard Chattaway decided to make us his Mayoral Charity for 1998-99 with the aim of raising enough money to replace our ageing caravan and towing vehicle which make up our outside broadcast unit. The OB unit takes us out into the community throughout the year and enables us to keep our listeners in touch with the world they have temporarily left behind, it also affords a service to many local organisations to support their efforts.
In 1999, and 2001 Anker Radio Broadcast on 107.3 FM. These were major events in Anker Radio’s history, it gave the radio station its chance to broadcast to a much wider audience, whilst not neglecting its main responsibility, to entertain the patients of the George Eliot Hospital. Only 2 years after our last broadcast on FM, which only lasted for 17 days, we are now ‘On Air’ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year on 1386 AM. Not only can we now reach all parts of the hospital, but also those who previously could never hear us, which includes the staff and visitors. This has only been made possible by the hard work of our members and in particular, Carol Frances, John Goodman and Chris Ward, as well as the overwhelming support of the George Eliot Hospital and the League of Friends.
Late 2014 the executive decides anker radio has an opportunity to broadcast online with technical constraints overcome, and a more increasing hopsital population with smart technology at their bedside. After licences applied for and technology installed, Anker Radio started broadcasting online in stereo from May 2015.
Also in May 2015 Anker Radio became a nominated charity along with Maggies Memory for the Mayor's charity appeal 2015/2016 all thanks to Cllr Barry Longden. It proved to be one of the most successful mayor's appeals ever, raising over £30,000. Anker Radio will be looking to spend its half of the money upgrading the studios and outside broadcast unit. We wish to publically thank Cllr Barry Longden and Joan Longden as well as all the girls at Maggies Memory.
Anker Radio continues to go from strength to strength, supporting local events, bringing the flavour of the borough into the hospital, running a successful Outside Broadcast and PA Unit which provides much needed income for the charity, and by continuing to provide a wide range of personal yet professional programming output that we hope makes a patients stay that little more enjoyable.