HOSPITAL radio station Rookwood Sound is entering an exciting new stage after launching a new studio complex at University Llandough Hospital.

The purpose built two studio facility is equipped with new digital equipment and is a permanent home for the station after many years of being between bases.

Station managers hope that the new studio and training sessions will help encourage new volunteer recruits.

Key figures from the station’s past and present were on hand to mark the occasion with former presenter and now BBC Radio One DJ Huw Stephens joining station President and BBC Radio Wales presenter Frank Hennessy.

Frank said: “It’s highly fitting as we celebrate Rookwood Sound’s 30th birthday that we celebrate the move to its new home in purpose built facilities.

“Over that period the Station has brought both talent and kindness to bear, priding itself on putting patients at the heart of its operations.

“It’s also been an invaluable training centre for the next generation of radio professionals with over 300 people getting their first experience in radio at Rookwood Sound, going on to successful careers in such prestigious broadcasting organisations such as the BBC, Sky, ITN and a range of other national and local radio stations.”

Huw, who was made Joint Patron of Rookwood Sound during the event, said: “It all started for me as a fifteen year-old trainee at Rookwood Sound and the experience I gained in seeing how radio works was invaluable to my career.

“Hospital radio in something unique to Britain and it’s something we should all be proud of. Rookwood Sound will benefit from these new facilities to help keep patients and visitors entertained.

“Great radio comes from great presenters and volunteers working together and there’s no doubt that this is happening every day at Rookwood Sound. Good luck to the station in its new setting and for the next thirty years.”

Maria Battle, the Chair of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, joined the opening ceremony. She said: “Our hospital radio stations, like Rookwood Sound, are core to the Health Board’s work, getting a friendly voice to everybody’s bedside and helping to overcome loneliness and apprehension. On behalf of everyone I want to thank you for everything you’ve done and please keep it going for the next thirty years.”

The new studio is the latest development at the hospital radio station that began life in 1984 when founder, Julian Brinkworth brought it to the airwaves.

After three years of fundraising, the station began broadcasting from Rookwood Hospital on 31 October 1987 with BBC Radio Two presenter Ken Bruce opening the facility.

Many high-profile fundraising activities took place to reach its fundraising target of £30,000 and help kick start the station.

After a short time, the radio coverage was extended to UHL at the request of the health authority. The station proved to be a launch pad for broadcasting talent with volunteers being snapped up by the BBC and local commercial stations.

Jim Simpson, Chair & CEO of Hospital Broadcasting Association: “The marriage between the health board and radio is essential and it’s obvious that you have a great partnership here at Rookwood Sound. Good luck in using these great new facilities to offer the great range of services you offer patients, staff and visitors.”