Hospital radio has been keeping patients company for almost 100 years and Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr is about to get its own – with a technological twist.
Two-and-half years in the making, YYFM is officially launching its on-demand internet service on Monday (February 15).
The grass roots project to get the station off the ground was the idea of hospital admin worker Steven Davies – a familiar face to hospital visitors and patients because of his work on the reception desk.
Steven explained: “I came up with the idea because of the hospital’s single-room environment. It’s fair to say the hospital room TV sets were stuck on one channel and in this day and age we had to do something better to combat the loneliness and isolation felt by some patients.
“Was there a way to bring more entertainment to the patients?”
After successfully putting in a funding bid to health board bosses, Steve then approached Caerphilly County Borough Council and the University of South Wales to get the project started.
He was put in touch with University of South Wales (USW)’s Community Radio Tutor Steve Johnson, who in turn enlisted the help of journalism students to produce content for the fledgling station.
Third year journalism student Jordan Howell was recruited to tie everything together and look after the technical logistics of getting the programmes online – including the launch of the website itsyyfm.com.
Jordan said: “It is great to see Steve’s idea come to life and I know he is thrilled. He has had this idea for many years, but he needed other people involved to make it happen.
“I have been on the project since October/November and it has been very exciting. Being a 24/7 on-demand service that is available to everyone is unique and not like traditional hospital radio.”
As well as USW journalism students producing shows, local schools have also gotten involved. St Martin’s School has created a conversational Spanish programme, while Lewis Girls Schools in Ystrad Mynach will be producing a local history show. Ysgol Gymraeg Caerffili pupils will also be providing Welsh language shows.
Steven added: “As founder of YYFM and on behalf of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board I wish to express a message of gratitude for USW’s involvement in this significant project. With special thanks going to Steve Johnson, Jordan Howell and the team of journalism students.
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“USW’s knowledge and skills have allowed my initial ideas to develop and the enthusiasm and input of the students has allowed it to come to life.
“ABUHB and USW are now looking forward to continuing to collaborate to allow the project to develop further and flourish.”
All YYFM content can be accessed via itsyyfm.com. Spoken word programmes can also be streamed via the Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple platforms, while music shows can be found at mixcloud.com/itsyyfm
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