ON DEMAND: USW students help launch hospital radio service
Updated: Feb 15
By Olivia Grist
A new, innovative, on-demand hospital radio service has launched at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, to help combat loneliness, boredom and the feeling of isolation that some patients face when staying in hospital – something that has only been emphasised during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Ysbyty Ystrad FM (YYFM) project, launching on February 15th, was created by Steven Davies – who works at the hospital – after he spotted an opportunity to give patients a greater sense of belonging, and to also help recall memories for those living with dementia, through the use of music.
As well as providing his own content, Steven has established links with Caerphilly County Borough Council, a number of local schools, and other key stakeholders to produce content for the service.
He was put in touch with Steve Johnson, a lecturer at the University of South Wales, who in turn recruited a number of journalism students to produce content for the station.
Speech-based content will include news summaries, interviews, documentaries, and radio dramas, and will also give listeners the opportunity to start learning a new language.
The service will also be used to deliver vital hospital messaging from the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, and COVID-19 guidance from the Welsh Government.
Music-based content includes patient song requests and music documentaries.
Jordan Howell, 27, from Southend-on-Sea, is the Content Controller for the radio service.
Asked about why he wanted to be involved, the third-year journalism student at the University of South Wales says: “As soon as I heard about the project, I thought that it was such an amazing opportunity, and something so unique – I had to get involved!”
Jordan has already committed to continuing his role at YYFM after he graduates as he believes the project has ‘great benefits’ for both listeners and volunteers.
“There’s so much choice when it comes to accessing radio, especially if you have a smart device.
“What I think is so different about YYFM is that the content is so local, and there is such a broad range to choose from.”
YYFM can be accessed by patients at the hospital by visiting itsyyfm.com on their own device(s), or by using one of the tablets available to them. Visitors and those outside of the hospital can also access the service, on their own device(s), by visiting the same website.
After two and a half years of trying to launch the radio service, project lead, Steven Davies, expressed his thanks to those involved.
The hospital worker says: “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 project – with special thanks to Steve Johnson, Jordan Howell and the team of journalism students.
“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.”
Speech based content can also be accessed on all major podcasting platforms, including: Google, Spotify and Apple.
Listeners will be able to give their feedback on the service, or request specific content, by clicking the feedback button on itsyyfm.com.