A Birmingham hospital radio show broadened its listener base when a technical glitch broadcast its show to planes jetting in and out of Manchester Airport.
Problems with the transmitting equipment at Birmingham Hospital Broadcasting Network (BHBN) meant that all planes in the flight path of Manchester Airport picked up the station’s signal.
The station usually broadcasts to patients at hospitals including Good Hope, Heartlands, Queen Elizabeth and City Hospitals – but this week pilots and passengers also tuned in to the sounds of the Beatles and the Beach Boys.
Presenter Marie McEvoy said the volunteer-run station was unaware they were broadcasting further afield than Birmingham until media regulator Ofcom alerted them to the problem.
“Ofcom got in touch with our technical controller David Horton to tell him about it, but I’m not sure how long we have been broadcasting in that flight path,” she said.
“We usually only broadcast to hospitals in and around Birmingham so when we heard about broadcasting to Manchester Airport it was a bit of shock.”
“We do pride ourselves on good quality shows and our slogan is keeping you company 24 hours a day so we hope people did enjoy listening!”
The charity station, which broadcasts from the Sickle Cell and Thalassemia block on the City Hospital site, has now removed the transmitting equipment.
The problems have forced the station, which has been on air for 57 years, to cease transmission at the QE and Heartlands Hospital but they are continuing to broadcast to Good Hope and City Hospitals using different equipment.
The station is now looking to replace the broken transmitters, which have been used for the past 20 years, but needs public donations.
“It is going to be cheaper to replace the transmitters rather than repair them, so we rely on donations to keep us going,” added Marie, who presents a request show every Thursday.
An Ofcom spokesman said BHBN’s broadcast was picked up doing routine monitoring of the airwaves.
“Our job is to monitor the airwaves, or what we would call the spectrum, to ensure that everyone is keeping to their right part of the spectrum,” said the spokesman.
“The spectrum is used by a range of users including radio stations, mobile phone companies, air traffic control and emergency services so it is important to make sure that no interference occurs.”