Just up the stairs from Milton Keynes Hospital’s old main entrance is their radio studio. I was there in the studio last week, to appear on the Tuesday Magazine programme with their presenter John Newton.
I was there to talk to John about the North Bucks Wanderer.
John Newton's writer's group. John is first right on the back row.
I met John in the Costa’s in the new main entrance. In his 80s, John is tall and slim with a glint in his eye and has led a varied and interesting life. Once in the Kenya police force, he is the author of several books and now runs a writer’s group that I’m a member of.
We grabbed coffee and looked through the CDs I had brought. I had been efficient and noted down the track numbers I had chosen and their duration so that John could plan his programme.
In the rather small studio John coached me on what to do when we went live. He showed me various hand signals so that he could ask me to finish what I was saying, or to keep close to the microphone so that it could pick up my voice properly.
Of course the listener has no idea these signals are being passed, but the idea is to make the show run more smoothly.
I’m a stills photographer, so I don’t know much about sound recording. But I did know enough to remove my brand new and very stiff motorcycle boots, as they squeaked loudly when I moved.
It was Midday. We went live.
John played a piece of music he had chosen earlier, and as the track ended he introduced me. This was it!
We talked for less than a minute before he introduced my first piece of music. The plan was to alternate songs I had chosen with tracks John had already picked. My second track was David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust.
Ziggy played guitar...
Just a few weeks ago I had covered the first anniversary of the David Bowie statue being unveiled in Aylesbury for a post on this blog, and this choice gave me a chance to talk about it.
As our broadcast went on, I became more relaxed and leaned back in my chair. John signalled me to get back close to the microphone, but by then I had forgotten what the signal meant. After a while I got the message and from then on kept my mouth closer to the mic.
Before I knew it we were at the end of the programme. I had chosen seven records but we only had time to play five. I enjoyed appearing on the hospital radio, and hope to be going back to do it again.
How to Listen
Milton Keynes Hospital Radio plays every day, all day; it’s been broadcasting for thirty years.
MK Hospital has free Wi-Fi across most of the site. There’s a LISTEN LIVE icon on all their Hospital Radio website pages. Click on that and it’ll link to a page where you can listen to the programme.
You can also listen for free via the hospicom hospital service. More details are on the Hospital Radio website.