Radio Forest

Radio Forest

Radio Forest Community Broadcasting is a registered charity in the UK and has been providing a hospital radio service in West Essex, for the last thirty years. Currently based at St. Margaret's Hospital in Epping it broadcasts two radio services to five different units within the West Essex Primary Care Trustand the North Essex Mental Health Partnership Trust Radio Forest is a member of the Hospital Broadcasting Associationand is run by a team of unpaid volunteers.

Forest One broadcasts 24 hours a day to everyone at St. Margaret's Hospital and the Derwent Centre and is aimed at a younger audience. Playing only the biggest songs from the 80's & 90's together with today's new music.

Classic Hits Forest Gold was launched in 2002 to cater for the older audience at St. Margaret's and Ongar War Memorial Community Hospital.Forest Gold broadcasts 24 hours a day the best music from the 50's, 60's and 70's with specialist music shows playing, country, classical, showtunes, Motown and songs from the war years.


Radio Forest was established in 1977, providing music and entertainment to the patients and staff of the Forest Hospital in Buckhurst Hill, Essex. A small team of eight people including local special constable and founder Nick Churchill built studios and equipment and registered Radio Forest as a charity in 1978 "to relieve sickness through entertainment"! By 1980 the organisation had grown with 30 people providing a radio service six nights a week. The studios moved to St. Margaret’s Hospital, Epping in 1980 but continued to broadcast to Forest Hospital via GPO landline until Forest Hospital closed, became a member of the National Association of Hospital Broadcasting Organizations and by the mid 1980s over 40 volunteers including Capital Radio's Peter Young and LBC's David Prever were broadcasting, ward visiting and raising funds seven days a week. Shows would include 'Here Comes the Night (a program of news, views, ideas information and music), the Stuart McDonald show, Solid State Brain (presented by Gerry Clapp) and the very popular 'Down your Ward' starring Heather Thirtle. Radio Forest continued to expand and in 1990 opened its third on air studio. Further new equipment enabled the station to provide recorded music and information overnight. In 1996 Radio Forest was granted a license by the Radio Authority (later Ofcom), to broadcast on FM for 28 days to the Epping Forest area over the Christmas period. The public response was incredible, enabling the station to compete commercially with other local stations and raise much needed funds. A move within St. Margaret's Hospital in 1999 meant the building of a new studio and the embracing of modern digital technology. Radio Forest was once again a pioneer by developing its own digital sustaining service, with the ability to provide a true 24 hour service including local and national news. In 2002 Radio Forest opened a dedicated Production Suite allowing more flexible programming, audio production and volunteer training. In November 2002 Radio Forest launched its second radio service 'Classic Hits Forest Gold'. Broadcasting a non stop mix of hits form the 50's, 60's and 70's. Classic Hits Forest Gold proved to be a popular addition to the St. Margaret's Hospital airwaves. In 2003 'Classic Hits Forest Gold' launched at Ongar War Memorial Community Hospital, in Essex, via a radio link and in 2005 Radio Forest was also able to provide 'Classic Hits Forest Gold' to Plane, Poplar and Orchard wards at St. Margaret's Hospital.

A complete refurbishment of the audio distribution system at St. Margaret's Hospital was completed in 2006, replacing the original system first installed during the 1950s. In 2007 a brand new hospital on the St. Margaret's site was completed and Radio Forest installed speakers and bedside audio facilities to the four new ward areas, allowing a choice of listening including 'Radio Forest FM' and 'Classic Hits Forest Gold'. A new on-air studio was also completed and the original studio dating from 1999 was re-furbished, allowing for more live programmes on both radio services.

In 2008 Radio Forest Community Broadcasting expanded its service to the Derwent Centre in Harlow and 'Radio Forest FM' was re-named 'Forest One'.


Forest Hospital, Buckhurst Hill, Essex UK (ceased 1980)

St. Margaret's Hospital, Epping, Essex, UK

Spencer Close Unit, Epping, Essex, UK

The Derwent Centre, Harlow, Essex, UK

The Ongar War Memorial Community Hospital, Chipping Ongar, Essex, UK

External links

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