the former radio station for Dorset County Hospital

A Brief History

Photo of Dorset County Hospital

Dorset County Hospital

Ridgeway Radio was the successor to several other hospital stations in the area which all began back in 1966 as the Dorchester Hospital Broadcasting Society (see 35 years celebration, 45 years celebration and 50 years of hospital radio in Dorchester). The Station is run by a team of volunteers who include presenters, ward visitors and technicians. Some of these are new to broadcasting, but some have been involved since the early days of local hospital radio in the area (50 years!!). Formerly West Dorset Hospital Radio, the Station's name now reflects the amalgamation of main hospital services of Weymouth and Dorchester Hospitals, following completion of Phase 2 of the present hospital, ‘Ridgeway’ being the name of the hill between the two towns. The old Dorset County Hospital, in Princes Street and now redeveloped, also had its own station which was where many current members began their hospital radio 'careers'.

When the main departments moved from Weymouth & District Hospital to the new Dorset County Hospital, Radio Shambles - the long-running and much-liked hospital radio service in Weymouth - closed and donated its equipment and record library to Ridgeway Radio, along with many of its members!

So, Ridgeway Radio is actually an amalgamation of four former stations - including another local service at Herrison Hospital, for psychiatric patients, now also redeveloped as housing and known as Charlton Down.

Kieran interviewing the carnival chairman

Kieran interviewing the Carnival Chairman

Our aim is to entertain the patient with friendly chat with record requests from their relatives and friends and provide a link to the outside world through items of local goings-on and live Outside Broadcasts. Regular OBs include the Dorchester and Weymouth Carnivals, Dorset County Show, Bournemouth Air Show, Weymouth Veterans weekend, the list goes on and on. Occupying a special place in our archives is our broadcast of the visit of Her Majesty The Queen who officially opened Phase 2 in 1998, thus completing a task begun by HRH Prince Charles who had opened Phase 1 some years earlier. Listen to highlights from the broadcast here.