It’s not just Tony Blackburn and Annie Nightingale celebrating their half century, as Keith Lea clocks up 50 years on York Hospital Radio.
Sixty-six year old Keith first went on air in 1965, and has been an active member of the hospital broadcasting organisation ever since. During his half century, he has been a broadcaster, technical operator, outside broadcast engineer, and secretary and later chairman of the organisation, as well as running its appeal to move to its then new studios in 1983. He also masterminded the station’s fundraising disco for 26 years until 1999.
He is the longest serving member of York Hospital Radio, the registered charity which broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to patients in the York Hospital.
Keith joined the Ebor Tape Recording Club which had just linked up with the York Hospital Broadcasting Service in July 1965, and got involved with recording weekly request shows in a disused pathology laboratory at the old Fulford Military Hospital, shows which were broadcast to ten hospitals across the city.
Keith says: “I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 50 years! Hospital radio has been with me throughout my professional career as a track engineer on the railways, and now in semi-retirement. I was inspired by the 50th anniversary of York Hospital Radio last year to get back into regular presenting, which just shows you can teach an old dog new tricks!
“I still love presenting news, music and views on Saturday mornings, and really can’t imagine my life without hospital radio in it!”
Ian Clennan, chairman of York Hospital Radio, adds: “Congratulations to Keith, who has been a mainstay of York Hospital Radio throughout almost its entire existence. He is a great example to us all, and I never cease to be impressed by his continuing commitment to the future development of our radio station.”
Keith’s 50th anniversary on 25 July was marked by a four-hour show from 9am looking back at the music of the past 50 years, with special guests dropping in to share their memories of Keith’s time at the station.