National award wins for hospital radio station

RADIO Wey has won two national hospital radio awards, including one for providing special speakers that ensures most patients at St Peter’s Hospital can hear the station.

Katharine and Maria’s The Young Wey, a request show for children, was named Best Programme with Multiple Presenters.

Maria Lopiano and Katharine Mann have won a national hospital radio award

Katharine Mann and Maria Lopiano were given the show shortly after they joined the station last year.

Maria gave her idea for the show to the station committee and she and Katharine were paired up to present it

“Andy Brown, the programme controller, suggested we meet and we got on very well. We’re both very bubbly,” Maria said.

Katharine spoke to the hospital authorities and got their enthusiastic support.

Before the lockdown, Katharine and Maria spent an hour each week in the children’s wards collecting requests.

Katharine Mann and Maria Lopiano in a children’s ward at St Peter’s Hospital before the lockdown

“The requests are often for siblings at home who can listen to the station online,” Maria said.

“Some are for Nanny or Grandad – we’ve had some beautiful requests.”

Radio Wey broadcasts from a building next to St Peter’s Hospital but now presenters are recording from home.

Staff are collecting requests and sending them to Katharine and Maria.

“They have been brilliant,” Katharine said.

“We have been getting about 15 requests each week.”

The 2020 National Hospital Radio Awards were to have been held in Bolton at the end of March but the ceremony had to be cancelled and the awards were announced live online a couple of weeks later.

Katharine was at home, near Woking railway station, and her daughters, aged 10 and 13, prepared her for the knockback of not winning.

“When they announced we had won, I screamed and the family all came running.

“I’m dead chuffed for me and Maria, but it’s all because of the hospital staff who have made it so easy for us.”

Katharine runs a recruitment business but has put that in furlough and volunteered to help the NHS.

Maria was with her family in Staines when the awards were broadcast. She dressed up for the announcement after having compiled the showreel to enter the awards and was delighted when the gold prize was announced.

Maria has a second show on Radio Wey, based on her past experience in musical theatre and her work as a dance teacher.

Radio Wey won the Recognising Innovation Across Hospital Radio award for the 60 Wi-Fi speakers it has helped to install in all the ward bays. The hospital bought the speakers after previous systems had broken down.

Radio Wey also won silver in the Station Promotion category and bronze in the Special Event Section for its coverage of St Peter’s Open Day.

Radio Wey needs volunteers for presenters and roles behind the scenes. The charity also needs donations towards the cost of running the station. For more information, visit www.radiowey.org.

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