“Professional Driver”

credit: wikipedia / GeographBot

credit: wikipedia / GeographBotAfter 7 weeks of training, passing numerous tests, I’ve finally succeeded in obtaining my PCV (Public Carriage Vehicle), Category D licence. Alongside this I’ve also obtained my Drivers certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). So what’s next for me?

I’ve been signed over to my garage, I’m route learning plus now on the job learning how to work with passengers, plus correctly completing my paperwork.

It’s been said numerous times to me now “You’re a professional driver”… I’m actually a professional something (On paper with the CPC!), I feel somewhat a little smug now, but I know there’s much more to learn. I’ve put in hard work to get this far, and I’ll continue to do just that, do my job and learn while doing it!


I’ve patted myself on the back, and now to do some ‘real’ bus work!


Alight here for a new career.

I’m changing career….

Well sort of, I’m a man of many hats, and soon to doth another cap to my collection!

So, I’ve been in professional radio for a few years now, built up a nice afternoon show, with some fantastic loyal listeners. but the only problem with working in professional radio is the pay. Essentially your only paid for the work you do, and when your doing a few hours a day, that doesn’t add up to much, with both Time & Decades. it’s below a ‘liveable’ wage.

So I’m taking a rather bold move, I’ve applied to Stagecoach London, to become a Bus Driver.

The future Image sourced from: TFL forum

Seriously… I admit it’s quite a change, well it’s a totally different industry, but one that’s calling out for people to join it, the pay seems good for a person of my age. I’ve undergone a series of assessments, interviews and medicals. Now I just have to apply myself to passing a theory, practical and CPC tests to become qualified. The motivation is the pay and a different environment are appealing.

So next time you get on a bus… it could be me saying hello!

The radio dream isn’t over! I’m still keeping my finger in the proverbial pie, with cover shifts and production work. Plus the charity stuff! It’s just a decision, based on a realisation that I want and need to be able to move on and progress along the highway of life.

So here’s to driving a double decker bus…



Bedrock Two is coming!

This August another one of my crazy ideas has become a reality – we’re setting ‘Bedrock Two’

So this rather ambition project I have had in mind for a couple of years. Following some research at it being done at two other stations and hearing a relative form of success. We’ve agreed funding, invested in equipment. It’s finally happening!

What is Bedrock Two?
Is is a second station to run alongside the current hospital radio service, it’s going to be a oldies or ‘gold’ format.

The station will initially play classics hits from the 40s – early 80s, with most songs coming from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
with a strong feature of Motown (Soul) and Rock & Roll. The service will also play Classical music and become home to our Audiobooks. It’s intended that news will be provided hourly, with local and hospital information given on the half hour.

Presenters will be volunteers of Bedrock, with occasional external syndicated programmes that will compliment the service, the occasional suitable programmes will be shared between both Bedrock stations. The service will be primary autonomous in service, however it will have the ability to broadcast live if required.

It’s undecided if the on-air branding would be ‘Bedrock Gold’ There is currently no slogan. It’s possible that the station would carry the ‘Timeless Classics’ motif from the main station, for big selling or iconic songs. On-Air imaging will need to be created, ideally with an ‘oldies’ feel. It’s possible a strong clear male voice over could be the ideal voice over for the station.
(finer details to be sorted, after the music is loaded)


The new service has the potential to work very well, just by the demographic of Havering alone.
According to the 2011 Census:

Havering has the highest proportion of adult social care users aged 65+ compared to all London boroughs. Three quarters (74.2%) of Havering adult social care clients were aged 65 or older in 2010/11.

It provides an alternative service suited towards the older listener, who may not want to hear more current chart music as part of their regular programming. I believe this service has potential to be listened externally by the local areas catering towards the social inclusion of patients receiving care in the community (providing they have access to an internet connection).

Thoughts: Hospital Radio Conference 2015

Your always learning… that’s a true fact.

I attended my first Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA) Conference & AGM earlier this year, in Newcastle.
It was an experience, with the opportunity to visit another studio, see the trade show and hear what the HBA is doing.
Myself and Lee (Bedrock Engineer) decided to take a chance and attended – As a little extra, we also took a portable studio along to record our programmes (our hotel had free, stable wifi) so we made it sound like were broadcasting live! – Impressive for us!

Before we event went to the conference. I’ve been looking at Hospital Radio in general and seeing a mass transition into streaming online, with some stations applying for community radio licences from OFCOM, and even a couple of station applying for the DAB trials.

Even at Bedrock we launched an online service as part of a further plan to expand to King George Hospital and reach outpatients. I still believe it could expand further than this, possibility a community licence, but with the focus of ‘health and wellbeing’ the Trust we work with should utilise us as a Communication tool, local health related charities too, in return they should encourage listening to the station, in a nutshell, hospital radio, becomes community health radio. 

One of the first seminars we attend was on the future of Hospital radio, exploring it’s changing landscape.
As mentioned earlier, I had the vision that a form of ‘Community Heath’ broadcasting, it turns out I wasn’t alone. The panel of stations from England, Wales, Scotland, and a Hospital station that had flipped to Community.
There where a few trains of thought, but for me the ones that stood out where:

  • ‘Hospital Radio’ as it stands sounds dated and limiting – Flip to Health Radio
  • Update your image & branding – drop the ‘hospital’ terms or specific hospital names.
  • Broaden your area – get speakers in your trust sites, use internet (Where possible go community*)
  • Provide engaging content that informs and entertains.

Even with a community (external) target, the focus would still be primary in-hosptial, with requests & patient interaction, promoting hospital services. So the end of the first seminar it was food for thought, but started to confirm my ideas I had in mind to progress our stations.

The trade show provided an opportunity to see what we could do next with the studios.
Lee and I took the opportunity to have a chat with PSquared about Myriad, as we had a few questions and problems.
It was great to see they bought along a Sonifex S2 mixer as they offer studio packages. I’ve always been fond of the S2 mixer, but they require a £6000 investment, plus we would need to buy new desks to fit them. My plan would be to upgrade to one in a few years, should things develop at Bedrock.

At this point, we had missed the start times of the next seminars, but luckily we spotted Graham, who was the regional representative for the south east of the HBA (We had attended some local HBA meetings) We had a coffee and a chat about where the HBA was actually going. I’ve been debating for a few years about pulling Bedrock out of the HBA. We’ve not had any dealings with the HBA head office, except for paying annual fees’ (that seem to increase), we spoke about if there was a purpose for the organisation, who seem to forever re-structure, but only ever appear to offer a conference and awards show. – It was nice to see Graham wanted to see the HBA change as much as I did.

Over lunch we furthered into talking about our stations, Lee had recently started helping out Jumbo Sound who where in dire need of engineering help and had got them in a position to be back ‘on-air’, Both Bedrock & Chelmsford had launched web streams last year as the stations both hit a 50 year anniversary.

So onto the AGM and conference, which i’d describe more of a membership grilling. It seem’d apparently that the chat with Graham earlier was echoed throughout various member stations. What where the HBA doing?
They announced a new-strcutrue plan, that would require volunteers to step up to help at national level, This wasn’t met with enthusiasm, it was clear volunteers at individual stations where fighting their own battles to stay afloat.

The plan it’s self, although longwinded, follow a suitable business model that have a board of Trustees that managed the charity and a board of directors that run the day to day of the HBA. However. the was a big catch, the Chief Executive post was one requiring a lot of travel to visit stations and representatives. but would remain unpaid (well except expenditure). In fact that was the downfall to the whole organisation. It’s run by unpaid volunteers.
–  A national charity representing Hospital Radio, don’t  pay member of staff. They just paid expenditures

It was suggested that maybe the Chief Executive post become a paid role, due to it’s intensive work,
Lastly a new website was unveiled, although had teething problems, it was a fresher(?!) look for the organisation.
Despite all this restructure and renewal I still struggle to see it’s viability. Many questions where fired around the room, but I had to ask “In today’s charity sector, with the stations individually fighting to stay open, could you justify if the HBA is viable”…. needless to say I didn’t much of a response, just ‘Yes, it is’… At this point I began to feel quite annoyed, partly as my question wasn’t answered fully, but in the other sense it answered itself. No. it’s not viable.
It needs dismantling and rebuilding.

If the stations are moving away from ‘hospital’ to ‘health’ then maybe the HBA needs to be more active in it’s support.
now this isn’t a HBA bashing post, no, I would like to see it become viable in my eyes. It has many avenues to do so.
but just hasn’t (maybe as the posts are unpaid?). If it was me, I’d have a dedicated studio built and produce interviews and other content for the stations, like a sort of youtube space for radio – stations could use the space for a small fee.
syndicated shows could be hosted from a central sever – rather than having dozens of links. Finally News, why not have a news service that maybe provides interviews with health ministers, or key health people,  (Maybe a partnership with IRN) to provide bulletins, but have the service provide news as mp3 downloads. (many softwares will update automatically) – Then you may have a fit for purpose – viable – national organisation.


After the whole weekend, Me and Lee know we’re going the correct direction, but work needs to be done at individual level to make any sort of widening listening base work, but it may require a total overhaul of the charitable guidelines.
and a general high level of standards


Maybe hospital radio isn’t the training ground it once was. It need to be tough enough to keep viable for the next 50 years… ‘local Health Radio’ appears to be a strong move. but how long for?


Lee & Mat Broadcast their shows from their Hotel during HBA conference weekend



*On a sidenote, I’ve visited and listened to a handful of community stations, monitoring outputs to see how ‘community’ based they are, compared to a hospital station, on many occasions the hospital stations i’ve dipped into where providing just as much, or more relevant local information that some of these ‘community’ outlets offered. 
I think that Hospital Radio stations (Well the good ones) should be given first refusal to any community licensing, as they often produce really good local information, with some even doing sports coverage too, additionally most of them have been operation or have a legacy of at least 50 years making them a good established ground to be offered a first refusal when the licences come up

Santa Raising Funds For Hospital Radio!

Santa’s Grotto will be  open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 4pm on the build up to Christmas.

The grotto is a fun and magical activity for children to visit Santa at just
 £4 per visit per child, 50%  of which will be donated to Bedrock.

Bedrock’s Chairman, Mathew Watson says: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been asked to be Santa’s Helpers for second year, We’re pleased to have such great support from the Romford Shopping Hall, The Bedrock team are excited and hope to smash last years donation!  It is a great opportunity to be working and promoting our charity within the local community.”

Read the whole story at www.bedrockradio.org.uk

A Month of Sundays….

I’ve got the pleasure of covering Sunday Breakfast on the 3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th of August!

We’ll start at 7am with the breakfast show,

Move into the Time Tunnel at 9

plus form 10, 2 hours of tunes picked by you on the jukebox!


Sounds a good way to start your Sundays in August!